Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanorobot for transporting drugs in the body

03.12.2013
The first step has been taken towards developing a nanorobot that – in the long run – will enable the targeted transport of medications in the body.

A nanorobot is a popular term for molecules with a unique property that enables them to be programmed to carry out a specific task.


The figure shows a nanocage in which eight unique DNA molecules are mixed together. The nanocage has four functional elements that transform themselves in response to changes in the surrounding temperature. These transformations either close (1A) or open (1B) the nanocage. By exploiting the temperature changes in the surroundings, the researchers trapped an active enzyme called horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in the nanocage (1C) (Figure: Sissel Juul)

In collaboration with colleagues in Italy and the USA, researchers at Aarhus University have now taken a major step towards building the first nanorobot of DNA molecules that can encapsulate and release active biomolecules.

In time, the nanorobot (also called a DNA nanocage) will no doubt be used to transport medications around in the body and thereby have a targeted effect on diseased cells.

Design using the body’s natural molecules

Using DNA self-assembly, the researchers designed eight unique DNA molecules from the body’s own natural molecules. When these molecules are mixed together, they spontaneously aggregate in a usable form – the nanocage (see figure).

The nanocage has four functional elements that transform themselves in response to changes in the surrounding temperature. These transformations either close (figure 1A) or open (figure 1B) the nanocage. By exploiting the temperature changes in the surroundings, the researchers trapped an active enzyme called horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in the nanocage (figure 1C). They used HRP as a model because its activity is easy to trace.

This is possible because the nanocage’s outer lattice has apertures with a smaller diameter than the central spherical cavity. This structure makes it possible to encapsulate enzymes or other molecules that are larger than the apertures in the lattice, but smaller than the central cavity.

The researchers have just published these results in the renowned journal ACS Nano. Here the researchers show how they can utilise temperature changes to open the nanocage and allow HRP to be encapsulated before it closes again.

They also show that HRP retains its enzyme activity inside the nanocage and converts substrate molecules that are small enough to penetrate the nanocage to products inside.

The encapsulation of HRP in the nanocage is reversible, in such a way that the nanocage is capable of releasing the HRP once more in reaction to temperature changes. The researchers also show that the DNA nanocage – with its enzyme load – can be taken up by cells in culture.

Looking towards the future, the concept behind this nanocage is expected to be used for drug delivery, i.e. as a means of transport for medicine that can target diseased cells in the body in order to achieve a more rapid and more beneficial effect.

The research was carried out at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre (iNANO), Aarhus University, in collaboration with researchers from Duke University (USA) and the University of Rome (Italy).

Link to the scientific article in ACS Nano:
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn4030543
For more information, please contact
Associate Professor Birgitta R. Knudsen
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics/Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre

Aarhus University

brk@mb.au.dk – mobile: +45 6020 2673

Postdoctoral Fellow Sissel Juul
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
Sissel.juul@duke.edu – mobile: +1 919 323 2291

Birgitta R. Knudsen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.au.dk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>