Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > 'Molecular Velcro' may lead to cost-effective alternatives to natural antibodies: Berkeley Lab researchers take cues from nature in designing a programmable nanomaterial for biosensing

Long organic molecules called peptoids self-assemble into a molecular film on the surface of a water solution. As this film gets folded into a nanosheet, segments of the peptoid get pushed out into loops, which eventually decorate the surface of the nanosheet.

Credit: Berkeley Lab
Long organic molecules called peptoids self-assemble into a molecular film on the surface of a water solution. As this film gets folded into a nanosheet, segments of the peptoid get pushed out into loops, which eventually decorate the surface of the nanosheet.

Credit: Berkeley Lab

Abstract:
Taking inspiration from the human immune system, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have created a new material that can be programmed to identify an endless variety of molecules. The new material resembles tiny sheets of Velcro, each just one-hundred nanometers across. But instead of securing your sneakers, this molecular Velcro mimics the way natural antibodies recognize viruses and toxins, and could lead to a new class of biosensors.

'Molecular Velcro' may lead to cost-effective alternatives to natural antibodies: Berkeley Lab researchers take cues from nature in designing a programmable nanomaterial for biosensing

Berkeley, CA | Posted on October 30th, 2013

"Antibodies have a really effective architectural design: a structural scaffold that pretty much stays the same, whether it's for snake venom or the common cold, and endlessly variable functional loops that bind foreign invaders," says Ron Zuckermann, a senior scientist at Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry. "We've mimicked that here, with a two-dimensional nanosheet scaffold covered with little functional loops like Velcro."

Zuckermann, Director of the Molecular Foundry's Biological Nanostructures Facility, is corresponding author on a paper reporting these results in ACS Nano, titled "Antibody-Mimetic Peptoid Nanosheets for Molecular Recognition." Coauthoring the paper are Gloria K. Olivier, Andrew Cho, Babak Sanii, Michael D. Connolly, and Helen Tran.

Zuckermann's nanosheet scaffolds are self-assembled from peptoids - synthetic, bio-inspired polymers capable of folding into protein-like architectures. Like beads on a string, each peptoid molecule is a long chain of small molecular units arranged in a specific pattern. In earlier work, Zuckermann showed how certain simple peptoids can fold themselves into nanosheets just a few nanometers thick but up to one-hundred micrometers across - dimensions equivalent to a one-millimeter-thick plastic sheet the size of a football field.

"The reason that nanosheets form is because there's a code for it programmed directly into the peptoids," says Zuckermann. "In this case it's admittedly a pretty rudimentary program, but it shows how if you bring in just a little bit of sequence information: Boom! You can make a nanosheet."

To create functional loops on the nanosheets, the researchers insert short molecular segments into nanosheet-forming peptoid polymers. As the peptoids knit themselves together into sheets, the inserted segments are excluded from the fold, pushed out instead into loops upon the nanosheet surface. The functional loops can be programmed to selectively bind certain enzymes or inorganic materials, which makes the new material promising for chemical sensing and catalysis.

"The advantage here is that we're able to make these materials in very high yield," says Gloria Olivier, a postdoctoral researcher and lead author on the paper. "We're borrowing this idea of stringing together a particular sequence of monomers, which Nature uses to build 3D protein structures, and applying it to the world of non-natural materials, to create a really useful material that can assemble itself."

The researchers demonstrated the flexibility of their method by creating nanosheets with loops of varying composition, length, and density; they made nanosheets that can pick specific enzymes out of a solution, causing chemical changes that can be detected with standard techniques, and others that bind selectively to gold metal, seeding the growth of gold nanoparticles and films.

"Peptoids can withstand much harsher conditions than peptides, their counterpart in nature," says Olivier. "So if you wanted to build a diagnostic device that can be taken outside of a laboratory, or a device that can screen for biomarkers in the presence of a mixture of proteins like proteases, peptoids are an excellent choice."

Looking beyond the exciting applications, Zuckermann points out that this work represents an important step toward extending the rules of protein folding to the world of synthetic materials.

Says Zuckermann, "That's kind of what my whole research program here is about: learning from the richness of chemical sequence information found in biology to create new types of advanced synthetic materials. We're really just starting to scratch the surface."

###

This research was funded by the DOE Office of Science and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The work was conducted at the Molecular Foundry with support from the Advanced Light Source, and at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.

####

About DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. For more, visit www.lbl.gov.

The Molecular Foundry is one of five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale, supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE's Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge and Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit science.energy.gov

The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Alison Hatt

510-486-7154

Copyright © DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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

Download article - "Antibody-Mimetic Peptoid Nanosheets for Molecular Recognition." Gloria K. Olivier, Andrew Cho, Babak Sanii, Michael D. Connolly, Helen Tran, and Ronald N. Zuckermann. ACS Nano, 7, 9276-9386, (2013):

For more about this research, listen to Episode 75 of the ACS Nano podcast:

For more about Ron Zuckermann's research and the Molecular Foundry, visit:

Related News Press

News and information

High-speed FM-AFM and simulation reveal atomistic dissolution processes of calcite in water July 28th, 2017

Atomic movies may help explain why perovskite solar cells are more efficient: SLAC's ultrafast 'electron camera' captures surprising atomic motions in these next-generation materials July 28th, 2017

Triple-layer catalyst does double duty: Rice, University of Houston produce robust catalyst to split water into hydrogen, oxygen July 28th, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Third Quarter Results July 27th, 2017

Living computers: RNA circuits transform cells into nanodevices July 27th, 2017

Laboratories

Atomic movies may help explain why perovskite solar cells are more efficient: SLAC's ultrafast 'electron camera' captures surprising atomic motions in these next-generation materials July 28th, 2017

Strange electrons break the crystal symmetry of high-temperature superconductors: Brookhaven Lab scientists discover spontaneous voltage perpendicular to applied current that may help unravel the mystery of high-temperature superconductors July 27th, 2017

Studying Argon Gas Trapped in Two-Dimensional Array of Tiny "Cages": Understanding how individual atoms enter and exit the nanoporous frameworks could help scientists design new materials for gas separation and nuclear waste remediation July 17th, 2017

News laser design offers more inexpensive multi-color output: Design can control color, intensity of light by varying cavity architecture July 11th, 2017

Synthetic Biology

Living computers: RNA circuits transform cells into nanodevices July 27th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

High-speed FM-AFM and simulation reveal atomistic dissolution processes of calcite in water July 28th, 2017

Atomic movies may help explain why perovskite solar cells are more efficient: SLAC's ultrafast 'electron camera' captures surprising atomic motions in these next-generation materials July 28th, 2017

Triple-layer catalyst does double duty: Rice, University of Houston produce robust catalyst to split water into hydrogen, oxygen July 28th, 2017

Ultracold molecules hold promise for quantum computing: New approach yields long-lasting configurations that could provide long-sought “qubit” material July 27th, 2017

Sensors

Giant enhancement of electromagnetic waves revealed within small dielectric particles: Scientists have done for the first time direct measurements of giant electromagnetic fields July 8th, 2017

Bosch announces high-performance MEMS acceleration sensors for wearables June 27th, 2017

Leti’s Autonomous-Vehicle System Embedded in Infineon’s AURIX Platform: Leti’s Low-Power, Multi-Sensor System that Transforms Distance Data into Clear Information About the Driving Environment Will Be Demonstrated at ITS Meeting in Strasbourg, June 19-22 June 20th, 2017

New diode features optically controlled capacitance: Israeli researchers have developed a new optically tunable capacitor with embedded metal nanoparticles, creating a metal-insulator-semiconductor diode that is tunable by illumination. June 8th, 2017

Discoveries

High-speed FM-AFM and simulation reveal atomistic dissolution processes of calcite in water July 28th, 2017

Atomic movies may help explain why perovskite solar cells are more efficient: SLAC's ultrafast 'electron camera' captures surprising atomic motions in these next-generation materials July 28th, 2017

Triple-layer catalyst does double duty: Rice, University of Houston produce robust catalyst to split water into hydrogen, oxygen July 28th, 2017

First Capacitive Transducer with 13nm Gap July 27th, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

Triple-layer catalyst does double duty: Rice, University of Houston produce robust catalyst to split water into hydrogen, oxygen July 28th, 2017

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement: Enormous potential for the targeted delivery of pharmaceutical agents and the creation of tailored nanoparticles July 27th, 2017

Regulation of two-dimensional nanomaterials: New driving force for lithium-ion batteries July 26th, 2017

Shining rings: A new material emits white light when exposed to electricity: New synthetic approach could spark development of other dynamic materials July 24th, 2017

Announcements

High-speed FM-AFM and simulation reveal atomistic dissolution processes of calcite in water July 28th, 2017

Atomic movies may help explain why perovskite solar cells are more efficient: SLAC's ultrafast 'electron camera' captures surprising atomic motions in these next-generation materials July 28th, 2017

Triple-layer catalyst does double duty: Rice, University of Houston produce robust catalyst to split water into hydrogen, oxygen July 28th, 2017

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement: Enormous potential for the targeted delivery of pharmaceutical agents and the creation of tailored nanoparticles July 27th, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

High-speed FM-AFM and simulation reveal atomistic dissolution processes of calcite in water July 28th, 2017

Triple-layer catalyst does double duty: Rice, University of Houston produce robust catalyst to split water into hydrogen, oxygen July 28th, 2017

Ultracold molecules hold promise for quantum computing: New approach yields long-lasting configurations that could provide long-sought “qubit” material July 27th, 2017

Atomic discovery opens door to greener, faster, smaller electronic circuitry: Scientists find way to correct communication pathways in silicon chips, making them perfect July 27th, 2017

Military

Ultracold molecules hold promise for quantum computing: New approach yields long-lasting configurations that could provide long-sought “qubit” material July 27th, 2017

Nanoparticles could spur better LEDs, invisibility cloaks July 19th, 2017

'Upconverted' light has a bright future: Rice University professor developing plasmon-powered devices for medicine, security, solar cells July 17th, 2017

Nature-inspired material uses liquid reinforcement: Rice U. nanoengineers create liquid-solid composites using clues from nature July 11th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement: Enormous potential for the targeted delivery of pharmaceutical agents and the creation of tailored nanoparticles July 27th, 2017

Living computers: RNA circuits transform cells into nanodevices July 27th, 2017

Shining rings: A new material emits white light when exposed to electricity: New synthetic approach could spark development of other dynamic materials July 24th, 2017

Probiotics: Novel biosynthetic tool to develop metallic nanoparticles: This research article by Dr. Nida Akhtar et al has been published in Recent Patents on Drug Delivery & Formulation, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2017 July 20th, 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