Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Nanoscale assembly line

On the nano assembly line, tiny biological tubes called microtubules serve as transporters for the assembly of several molecular objects.Graphics: Samuel Hertig
On the nano assembly line, tiny biological tubes called microtubules serve as transporters for the assembly of several molecular objects.

Graphics: Samuel Hertig

Abstract:
ETH researchers have realised a long-held dream: inspired by an industrial assembly line, they have developed a nanoscale production line for the assembly of biological molecules.

Nanoscale assembly line

Zurich, Switzerland | Posted on August 29th, 2014



Cars, planes and many electronic products are now built with the help of sophisticated assembly lines. Mobile assembly carriers, on to which the objects are fixed, are an important part of these assembly lines. In the case of a car body, the assembly components are attached in various work stages arranged in a precise spatial and chronological sequence, resulting in a complete vehicle at the end of the line.

The creation of such an assembly line at molecular level has been a long-held dream of many nanoscientists. "It would enable us to assemble new complex substances or materials for specific applications," says Professor Viola Vogel, head of the Laboratory of Applied Mechanobiology at ETH Zurich. Vogel has been working on this ambitious project together with her team and has recently made an important step. In a paper published in the latest issue of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Lab on a Chip journal, the ETH researchers presented a molecular assembly line featuring all the elements of a conventional production line: a mobile assembly carrier, an assembly object, assembly components attached at various assembly stations and a motor (including fuel) for the assembly carrier to transport the object from one assembly station to the next.
Production line three times thinner than a hair

At the nano level, the assembly line takes the form of a microfluid platform into which an aqueous solution is pumped. This platform is essentially a canal system with the main canal just 30 micrometres wide - three times thinner than a human hair. Several inflows and outflows lead to and from the canal at right angles. The platform was developed by Vogel's PhD student Dirk Steuerwald and the prototype was created in the clean room at the IBM Research Centre in Rüschlikon.

The canal system is fitted with a carpet made of the motor protein kinesin. This protein has two mobile heads that are moved by the energy-rich molecule ATP, which supplies the cells of humans and other life forms with energy and therefore make it the fuel of choice in this artificial system.
Assembling molecules step-by-step

The ETH researchers used microtubules as assembly carriers. Microtubules are string-like protein polymers that together with kinesin transport cargo around the cells. With its mobile heads, kinesin binds to the microtubules and propels them forward along the surface of the device. This propulsion is further supported by the current generated by the fluid being pumped into the canal system. Five inflows and outflows direct the current in the main canal and divide it into strictly separated segments: a loading area, from where the assembly carriers depart, two assembly stations and two end stations, where the cargo is delivered.

The researchers can add the objects to the system through the lines that supply the assembly segments. In their most recent work, they tested the system using NeutrAvidin, the first molecule that binds to the nanoshuttle. A second component - a single, short strand of genetic material (DNA) - then binds to the NeutrAvidin, creating a small molecular complex.
Technical applications are still a long way off

Although Vogel's team has achieved a long-held dream with this work, the ETH professor remains cautious: "The system is still in its infancy. We're still far away from a technical application." Vogel believes they have shown merely that the principle works.

She points out that although the construction of such a molecular nanoshuttle system may look easy, a great deal of creative effort and knowledge from different disciplines goes into every single component of the system. The creation of a functional unit from individual components remains a big challenge. "We have put a lot of thought into how to design the mechanical properties of bonds to bind the cargo to the shuttles and then unload it again in the right place."

The use of biological motors for technical applications is not easy. Molecular engines such as kinesin have to be removed from their biological context and integrated into an artificial entity without any loss of their functionality. The researchers also had to consider how to build the assembly carriers and what the ‘tracks' and assembly stations would look like. "These are all separate problems that we have now managed to combine into a functioning whole," says Vogel.
Sophisticated products from the nano assembly line

The researchers envision numerous applications, including the selective modification of organic molecules such as protein and DNA, the assembly of nanotechnological components or small organic polymers, or the chemical alteration of carbon nanotubes. "We need to continue to optimise the system and learn more about how we can design the individual components of this nanoshuttle system to make these applications possible in the future," says the ETH professor. The conditions for further research in this field are excellent: her group is now part of the new NCCR in Basel - Molecular Systems Engineering: Engineering functional molecular modules to factories.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Viola Vogel

41-446-320-887

Copyright © ETH Zurich

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

Reference

Related News Press

News and information

A first glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state March 28th, 2015

DFG to Establish One Clinical Research Unit and Five Research Units: New Projects to Investigate Complications in Pregnancy, Particle Physics, Nanoparticles, Implants and Transport Planning / Approximately 13 Million Euros in Funding for an Initial Three-Year Period March 28th, 2015

Chemists make new silicon-based nanomaterials March 27th, 2015

UT Dallas engineers twist nanofibers to create structures tougher than bulletproof vests March 27th, 2015

Microfluidics/Nanofluidics

Square ice filling for a graphene sandwich March 26th, 2015

Dolomite’s microfluidics technology ideal for B cell encapsulation March 24th, 2015

Going with the flow January 16th, 2015

How bacteria control their size: By monitoring thousands of individual bacteria scientists discovered how they maintain their size from generation to generation January 6th, 2015

Molecular Nanotechnology

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines: Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami March 27th, 2015

Monitoring the real-time deformation of carbon nanocoils under axial loading February 18th, 2015

Nanotechnology: Better measurements of single molecule circuits February 18th, 2015

Half spheres for molecular circuits: Corannulene shows promising electronic properties February 17th, 2015

Nanomedicine

Novel nanoparticle therapy promotes wound healing March 27th, 2015

Graphene reduces wear of alumina ceramic March 26th, 2015

Application of Graphene Oxide in Body Implants in Iran March 26th, 2015

Nanotechnology in Medical Devices Market is expected to reach $8.5 Billion by 2019 March 25th, 2015

Discoveries

A first glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state March 28th, 2015

UT Dallas engineers twist nanofibers to create structures tougher than bulletproof vests March 27th, 2015

Novel nanoparticle therapy promotes wound healing March 27th, 2015

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines: Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami March 27th, 2015

Announcements

A first glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state March 28th, 2015

DFG to Establish One Clinical Research Unit and Five Research Units: New Projects to Investigate Complications in Pregnancy, Particle Physics, Nanoparticles, Implants and Transport Planning / Approximately 13 Million Euros in Funding for an Initial Three-Year Period March 28th, 2015

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines: Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami March 27th, 2015

Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity: Los Alamos explores experimental path to potential 'next theory of superconductivity' March 27th, 2015

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

A first glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state March 28th, 2015

Chemists make new silicon-based nanomaterials March 27th, 2015

UT Dallas engineers twist nanofibers to create structures tougher than bulletproof vests March 27th, 2015

Novel nanoparticle therapy promotes wound healing March 27th, 2015

Industrial

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Announces Next Large Order from the Oil and Gas Industry March 26th, 2015

Young NTU Singapore spin-off clinches S$4.3 million joint venture with Chinese commercial giant March 23rd, 2015

Nanodevice Invented in Iran to Detect Hydrogen Sulfide in Oil, Gas Industry March 20th, 2015

Industrial Production of Nano-Based PVC Products in Iran March 20th, 2015

Nanobiotechnology

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines: Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami March 27th, 2015

Dolomite’s microfluidics technology ideal for B cell encapsulation March 24th, 2015

Tiny bio-robot is a germ suited-up with graphene quantum dots March 24th, 2015

TGAC's take on the first portable DNA sequencing 'laboratory': First remote laboratory allows researchers to conduct real-time anaylsis March 19th, 2015

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







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE