Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > New Geometries: Researchers Create New Shapes of Artificial Microcompartments - As in nature, various shapes could be more efficient for specific functions

Monica Olvera de la Cruz
Monica Olvera de la Cruz

Abstract:
In nature, biological functions are often carried out in tiny protective shells known as microcompartments, structures that provide home to enzymes that convert carbon dioxide into energy in plant cells and to viruses that replicate once they enter the cell.

New Geometries: Researchers Create New Shapes of Artificial Microcompartments - As in nature, various shapes could be more efficient for specific functions

Chicago, IL | Posted on December 12th, 2012

Most of these shells buckle into an icosahedron shape, forming 20 sides that allow for high interface with their surroundings. But some shells — such as those found in the single-celled Archaea or simple, salt-loving organisms called halophiles —break into triangles, squares, or non-symmetrical geometries. While these alternate geometries may seem simple, they can be incredibly useful in biology, where low symmetry can translate to higher functionality.

Researchers at Northwestern University have recently developed a method to recreate these shapes in artificial microcompartments created in the lab: by altering the acidity of their surroundings. The findings could lead to designed microreactors that mimic the functions of these cell containers or deliver therapeutic materials to cells at specific targeted locations.

"If you want to design a very clever capsule, you don't make a sphere. But perhaps you shouldn't make an icosahedron, either," said Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, and (by courtesy) Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and one of the paper's authors. "What we are beginning to realize is maybe these lower symmetries are smarter."

To create the new shell geometries, the researchers co-assembled oppositely charged lipids with variable degrees of ionization and externally modified the surrounding electrolyte. The resulting geometries include fully faceted regular and irregular polyhedral, such as square and triangular shapes, and mixed Janus-like vesicles with faceted and curved domains that resembled cellular shapes and shapes of halophilic organisms.

The research was conducted by three McCormick faculty members: Olvera de la Cruz, Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Professor of Chemistry, and (by courtesy) Chemical and Biological Engineering; Michael J. Bedzyk, professor of materials science and engineering and (by courtesy) physics and astronomy; and Samuel I. Stupp, Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, and Medicine.

A paper about the research, "Molecular Crystallization Controlled by pH Regulates Mesoscopic Membrane Morphology," was published November 27 in the journal ACS Nano.

Other authors of the paper include lead co-authors Cheuk-Yui Leung, Liam C. Palmer, and Bao Fu Qiao; Sumit Kewalramani, Rastko Sknepnek, Christina J. Newcomb, and Megan A. Greenfield, all of Northwestern; and Graziano Vernizzi of Siena College.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Megan Fellman

847-491-3115

Copyright © Northwestern University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Article - “Molecular Crystallization Controlled by pH Regulates Mesoscopic Membrane Morphology.”:

Related News Press

News and information

Gold standards for nanoparticles: Understanding how small organic ions stabilize gold nanoparticles may allow for better control March 29th, 2017

Tiny sensor lays groundwork for precision X-rays detection via endoscopy:Nanoscale fiber-integrated X-ray sensor opens new doors for medical imaging and radiotherapy March 29th, 2017

Researchers uncover secret of nanomaterial that makes harvesting sunlight easier March 29th, 2017

Information storage with a nanoscale twist: Discovery of a novel rotational force inside magnetic vortices makes it easier to design ultrahigh capacity disk drives March 28th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Gold standards for nanoparticles: Understanding how small organic ions stabilize gold nanoparticles may allow for better control March 29th, 2017

Tiny sensor lays groundwork for precision X-rays detection via endoscopy:Nanoscale fiber-integrated X-ray sensor opens new doors for medical imaging and radiotherapy March 29th, 2017

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm: Microstructures create temporary pores in cells March 27th, 2017

Researchers make flexible glass for tiny medical devices: Glass can bend over and over again on a nanoscale March 27th, 2017

Discoveries

Gold standards for nanoparticles: Understanding how small organic ions stabilize gold nanoparticles may allow for better control March 29th, 2017

Tiny sensor lays groundwork for precision X-rays detection via endoscopy:Nanoscale fiber-integrated X-ray sensor opens new doors for medical imaging and radiotherapy March 29th, 2017

Researchers uncover secret of nanomaterial that makes harvesting sunlight easier March 29th, 2017

Information storage with a nanoscale twist: Discovery of a novel rotational force inside magnetic vortices makes it easier to design ultrahigh capacity disk drives March 28th, 2017

Announcements

Gold standards for nanoparticles: Understanding how small organic ions stabilize gold nanoparticles may allow for better control March 29th, 2017

Tiny sensor lays groundwork for precision X-rays detection via endoscopy:Nanoscale fiber-integrated X-ray sensor opens new doors for medical imaging and radiotherapy March 29th, 2017

Researchers uncover secret of nanomaterial that makes harvesting sunlight easier March 29th, 2017

Information storage with a nanoscale twist: Discovery of a novel rotational force inside magnetic vortices makes it easier to design ultrahigh capacity disk drives March 28th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Gold standards for nanoparticles: Understanding how small organic ions stabilize gold nanoparticles may allow for better control March 29th, 2017

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm: Microstructures create temporary pores in cells March 27th, 2017

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Nanobiotix: The Independent Data Monitoring Committee Recommends the Continuation of the Ongoing Phase II/III Trial of NBTXR3 in Soft Tissue Sarcoma March 23rd, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project