Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Oddball enzyme provides easy path to synthetic biomaterials

ew recipe uses overlooked DNA builder to simplify production of synthetic biomaterials for applications ranging from drug delivery to nanowires.
CREDIT
Stefan Zauscher, Duke University
ew recipe uses overlooked DNA builder to simplify production of synthetic biomaterials for applications ranging from drug delivery to nanowires. CREDIT Stefan Zauscher, Duke University

Abstract:
Materials scientists have written the recipe on how to use an oddball enzyme to build new biomaterials out of DNA. The work provides instructions for researchers the world over to build self-assembling molecules for applications ranging from drug delivery to nanowires.

Oddball enzyme provides easy path to synthetic biomaterials

Durham, NC | Posted on May 17th, 2017

The molecular machinery of the human body typically relies on genetic templates to carry out construction. For example, molecular machines called DNA polymerases read DNA base-by-base to build accurate copies.

There are, however, a few black sheep in the world of molecular biology that do not require a template. One such outlier, called terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT), works in the immune system and catalyzes the template-free addition of nucleotides--the building blocks of DNA -- to a single-stranded DNA.

Seemingly random nucleotide sequences in a single DNA strand wouldn't seem to have much of a biological use -- but materials scientists have figured out what to do with it.

In a new paper, Duke University researchers build on their previous work and now describe in detail how the TdT enzyme can produce precise, high molecular weight, synthetic biomolecular structures much more easily than current methods. Researchers can tailor synthesis to create single-stranded DNA that self-assemble into ball-like containers for drug delivery or to incorporate unnatural nucleotides to provide access to a wide range of medically useful abilities.

The results appear online on May 15, 2017 in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

"We're the first to show how TdT can build highly controlled single strands of DNA that can self-assemble into larger structures," said Stefan Zauscher, the Sternberg Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. "Similar materials can already be made, but the process is long and complicated, requiring multiple reactions. We can do it in a fraction of the time in a single pot."

TdT has advantage over typical, synthetic chain-building reactions in that it continues to add nucleotides to the end of the growing chain as long as they are available. This opens a vast design space to materials scientists.

Because the enzymes all work at the same pace and never stop, the resulting strands of DNA are all very close in size to each other--an important trait for controlling their mechanical properties. The never-ending process also means that researchers can force-feed TdT any nucleotide they want -- even unnatural ones -- simply by providing no other options.

"Your body makes strands of DNA out of only four nucleotides -- adenine, guanine, cytosine and uracil," said Chilkoti, the Alan L. Kaganov Professor and chair of the department of biomedical engineering at Duke. "But we can create synthetic nucleotides and force the enzyme to incorporate them. This opens many doors in making DNA-based polymers for different applications."

For example, unnatural nucleotides can incorporate molecules designed to facilitate "click chemistry" -- enabling the attachment of a whole suite of biomolecules. Researchers can also start the building process with a foundation made of a specific DNA sequence, called an aptamer, which can target specific proteins and cells.

"This enzyme has been around for decades, but this is the first time somebody has mapped these concepts into a blueprint for synthesizing a whole new family of polynucleotides," said Zauscher. "In the past, biochemists have largely been interested in what TdT does in the human immunological system and how it does it. We don't care about all of that, we're just interested in what material building blocks we can make with it. And the precision with which we can make polymers with this enzyme is actually quite exceptional."

###

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (DMR-1411126 and DMR-1121107).

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ken Kingery

919-660-8414

Copyright © Duke 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

"High Molecular Weight Polynucleotides by Transferase-Catalyzed Living Chain-Growth Polycondensation." Lei Tang, Luis A. Navarro Jr., Ashutosh Chilkoti, and Stefan Zauscher. Angewandte Chemie, 2017. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201700991:

Related News Press

News and information

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy: Osaka University researchers use sunlight to make hydrogen with a new nanostructured catalyst based on nanosheets of black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Announces Proposed Underwritten Offering of Common Stock January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin memory storage device paves way for more powerful computing January 17th, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Ultra-thin memory storage device paves way for more powerful computing January 17th, 2018

'Gyroscope' molecules form crystal that's both solid and full of motion: New type of molecular machine designed by UCLA researchers could have wide-ranging applications in technology and science January 16th, 2018

The nanoscopic structure that locks up our genes January 16th, 2018

New exotic phenomena seen in photonic crystals: Researchers observe, for the first time, topological effects unique to an open system January 12th, 2018

Possible Futures

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy: Osaka University researchers use sunlight to make hydrogen with a new nanostructured catalyst based on nanosheets of black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin memory storage device paves way for more powerful computing January 17th, 2018

'Gyroscope' molecules form crystal that's both solid and full of motion: New type of molecular machine designed by UCLA researchers could have wide-ranging applications in technology and science January 16th, 2018

Chip Technology

Ultra-thin memory storage device paves way for more powerful computing January 17th, 2018

'Gyroscope' molecules form crystal that's both solid and full of motion: New type of molecular machine designed by UCLA researchers could have wide-ranging applications in technology and science January 16th, 2018

New oxide and semiconductor combination builds new device potential: Researchers integrated oxide two-dimensional electron gases with gallium arsenide and paved the way toward new opto-electrical devices January 10th, 2018

STMicroelectronics Selects GLOBALFOUNDRIES 22FDX to Extend Its FD-SOI Platform and Technology Leadership : GFs FDX technology will enable ST to deliver high-performance, low-power products for next-generation consumer and industrial applications January 9th, 2018

Self Assembly

Particle size matters for porous building blocks: Rice University scientists find porous nanoparticles get tougher under pressure, but not when assembled December 19th, 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

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Nanocages for gold particles: what is happening inside? March 16th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Announces Proposed Underwritten Offering of Common Stock January 17th, 2018

Scientists synthesize nanoparticle-antioxidants to treat strokes and spinal cord injuries January 16th, 2018

The nanoscopic structure that locks up our genes January 16th, 2018

Nanoelectronics

Viewing atomic structures of dopant atoms in 3-D relating to electrical activity in a semiconductor December 28th, 2017

Electronically-smooth '3-D graphene': A bright future for trisodium bismuthide: Electronically-smooth nature of trisodium bismuthide makes it a viable alternative to graphene/h-BN December 22nd, 2017

Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure: Researchers are the first to observe the electronic structure of graphene in an engineered semiconductor; finding could lead to progress in advanced optoelectronics and data processing December 13th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Fudan Team to Deliver Next Generation Dual Interface Smart Card November 14th, 2017

Discoveries

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy: Osaka University researchers use sunlight to make hydrogen with a new nanostructured catalyst based on nanosheets of black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

New catalyst for hydrogen production is a step toward clean fuel: Carbon-based nanocomposite with embedded metal ions yields impressive performance as catalyst for electrolysis of water to generate hydrogen January 16th, 2018

'Gyroscope' molecules form crystal that's both solid and full of motion: New type of molecular machine designed by UCLA researchers could have wide-ranging applications in technology and science January 16th, 2018

Announcements

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy: Osaka University researchers use sunlight to make hydrogen with a new nanostructured catalyst based on nanosheets of black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Announces Proposed Underwritten Offering of Common Stock January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin memory storage device paves way for more powerful computing January 17th, 2018

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

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy: Osaka University researchers use sunlight to make hydrogen with a new nanostructured catalyst based on nanosheets of black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin memory storage device paves way for more powerful computing January 17th, 2018

'Gyroscope' molecules form crystal that's both solid and full of motion: New type of molecular machine designed by UCLA researchers could have wide-ranging applications in technology and science January 16th, 2018

Nanobiotechnology

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Announces Proposed Underwritten Offering of Common Stock January 17th, 2018

Scientists synthesize nanoparticle-antioxidants to treat strokes and spinal cord injuries January 16th, 2018

The nanoscopic structure that locks up our genes January 16th, 2018

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