Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:



Variable nanocomposites: Small, rigid DNA rings with a gap for the incorporation of functional molecules

What appear under an atomic force microscope to be tiny rings with little bits missing are actually nanoscopic rings made of double-stranded DNA with a little gap in the form of a short single-stranded fragment. As Michael Famulok and his team from the University of Bonn, Germany, explain in the journal Angewandte Chemie , this gap is a place to attach other molecules that have the potential to transform the rings into versatile nanocomposites for various applications.

The programmable aggregation of molecular building blocks into structures with higher order plays a key role in the construction of nanomaterials. Nucleic acids are interesting building block candidates, being easy to synthesize and exhibiting unique molecular recognition characteristics. The difficulty lies in the fact that the construction of defined two- or three-dimensional geometries requires rigid building blocks. However, DNA molecules are normally flexible structures.

“From the structural point of view, miniature rings represent the simplest form for a rigid object made of DNA,” says Famulok. His team thus took on the challenge of producing DNA molecules with a smooth circular structure, free of ring deformations, twists, or knots. This was not an easy endeavor. DNA is usually found in the form of a double strand with a helical twist and can, if it is too short, close on itself to form a ring. On the other hand, if the ring gets too large, it is no longer rigid. Famulok and his team have now succeeded, by careful selection of the sequence and number of nucleotides as well as a clever synthetic route, in producing the desired rigid rings.

... more about:
»DNA »Famulok »Strand »rigid

Even better, the researchers were able to build a “gap” into their rings—a short sequence that does not occur in normal base pairing, instead exiting as a single-stranded segment. This should make it possible to “fit” the ring with tailored functionality for special applications. All that needs to be done is to produce a short single strand of DNA complementary to the single-stranded part of the ring and to attach it to a molecule with the desired properties. This single strand then fits perfectly into the gap. This allows the ring to be equipped as desired, depending on the requirements of the application in question. For example, it can be given “anchors” that precisely bind the rings to other components.

“Our new, uncomplicated method for the production of rigid DNA nanorings with variable, tailor-made functionality opens new pathways for the construction of DNA objects with higher levels of organization,” Famulok is convinced.

Author: Michael Famulok, Universität Bonn (Germany),

Title: DNA Minicircles with Gaps for Versatile Functionalization

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, doi: 10.1002/anie.200704004

Michael Famulok | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:

Further reports about: DNA Famulok Strand rigid

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Here comes the long-sought-after iron-munching microbe
25.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques
25.10.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

First-time reconstruction of infectious bat influenza viruses

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Amazon rain helps make more rain

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>