Google Play icon

Self-healing DNA nanostructures

Share
Posted May 30, 2019
This news or article is intended for readers with certain scientific or professional knowledge in the field.

DNA assembled into nanostructures such as tubes and origami-inspired shapes could someday find applications ranging from DNA computers to nanomedicine. However, these intriguing structures don’t persist long in biological environments because of enzymes called nucleases that degrade DNA. Now, researchers have designed DNA nanostructures that can heal themselves in serum. They report their results in ACS’ journal Nano Letters.

Repair molecules (green dye) can self-heal a DNA nanotube (blue dye); the red dye is the “seed” used to create the nanotube. Scale bar, 2 microns.
Image credit: Adapted from Nano Letters, 2019, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b00888

Someday, doctors could introduce DNA nanostructures to the human body to diagnose diseases or deliver medications, among other applications. But first, they must find a way to protect or repair the molecules when nucleases attack. Researchers have developed several approaches to stabilize the structures in serum, such as chemically modifying or coating the DNA. However, making this stabilized DNA can be expensive and time-consuming, and the modifications could affect the nanostructures’ biocompatibility or function. So, Yi Li and Rebecca Schulman wanted to develop a self-repair process that could substantially extend the lifetime of DNA nanostructures.

The researchers designed DNA nanotubes that self-assemble from smaller DNA “tiles.” In serum at body temperature, the nanostructures degraded within only 24 hours. However, when the researchers added extra tiles to serum containing the nanotubes, the building blocks repaired damaged structures, extending their lifetimes to more than 96 hours. By labeling the original nanotubes and the extra tiles with differently colored fluorescent dyes, the team determined that the additional small DNA pieces repaired the degrading structures both by replacing damaged tiles and by joining to the nanotube ends. The researchers developed a computer model of the process that indicated DNA nanostructures could be maintained for months or longer using the self-healing method.

Source: acs.org

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
86,032 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. Universe is a Sphere and Not Flat After All According to a New Research (November 7, 2019)
  2. NASA Scientists Confirm Water Vapor on Europa (November 19, 2019)
  3. How Do We Colonize Ceres? (November 21, 2019)
  4. This Artificial Leaf Turns Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Into Fuel (November 8, 2019)
  5. Scientists created a wireless battery free computer input device (December 1, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email