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

Oxford Instruments participates in the launch of the European Quantum Technology Flagship Programme ‘QMiCS’ December 13th, 2018

Insights into magnetic bacteria may guide research into medical nanorobots December 12th, 2018

Elliot Scientific now representing Raman Imaging specialists WITec in the UK and Eire - Unique correlative analysis in one instrument: Raman/AFM, Raman/SNOM December 10th, 2018

A new 'spin' on kagome lattices: Team's findings shed new light on the presence of spin-orbit coupling and topological spin textures in kagome lattices December 9th, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Oxford Instruments participates in the launch of the European Quantum Technology Flagship Programme ‘QMiCS’ December 13th, 2018

A new 'spin' on kagome lattices: Team's findings shed new light on the presence of spin-orbit coupling and topological spin textures in kagome lattices December 9th, 2018

It's not a shock: Better bandage promotes powerful healing November 29th, 2018

French Researchers Extend Reach of Mass Spectrometry with Nanomechanical Resonators: Neutral Mass Spectrometry’ Fills Gap In Existing Weighing Technologies November 27th, 2018

Possible Futures

Oxford Instruments participates in the launch of the European Quantum Technology Flagship Programme ‘QMiCS’ December 13th, 2018

Insights into magnetic bacteria may guide research into medical nanorobots December 12th, 2018

A new 'spin' on kagome lattices: Team's findings shed new light on the presence of spin-orbit coupling and topological spin textures in kagome lattices December 9th, 2018

Milestone for bERLinPro: Photocathodes with high quantum efficiency December 8th, 2018

Chip Technology

Oxford Instruments participates in the launch of the European Quantum Technology Flagship Programme ‘QMiCS’ December 13th, 2018

A new 'spin' on kagome lattices: Team's findings shed new light on the presence of spin-orbit coupling and topological spin textures in kagome lattices December 9th, 2018

Harnessing the power of 'spin orbit' coupling in silicon: Scaling up quantum computation December 7th, 2018

CEA-Leti’s RRAM-based TCAM Circuits Meet Requirements of Multicore Neuromorphic Processors December 5th, 2018

Self Assembly

High-performance self-assembled catalyst for SOFC October 12th, 2018

New bio-inspired dynamic materials transform themselves: Highly dynamic synthetic superstructure provides new clues on brain, spinal cord injuries and neurological disease October 5th, 2018

DNA drives design principles for lighter, thinner optical displays: Lighter gold nanoparticles could replace thicker, heavier layered polymers used in displays’ back-reflectors June 27th, 2018

Collaboration yields discovery of 12-sided silica cages June 20th, 2018

Nanomedicine

Insights into magnetic bacteria may guide research into medical nanorobots December 12th, 2018

A*STAR, One BioMed launch S$9m joint lab to make diagnostic kit for infectious diseases December 3rd, 2018

New research could fine-tune the gene scissors CRISPR December 1st, 2018

It's not a shock: Better bandage promotes powerful healing November 29th, 2018

Nanoelectronics

2-D magnetism: Atom-thick platforms for energy, information and computing research: Scientists say the tiny 'spins' of electrons show potential to one day support next-generation innovations in many fields October 31st, 2018

Machine learning helps improving photonic applications September 28th, 2018

How a tetrahedral substance can be more symmetrical than a spherical atom: A new type of symmetry September 14th, 2018

Laser sintering optimized for printed electronics: New study sheds (laser) light on the best means of laying down thin-film circuitry September 13th, 2018

Discoveries

Insights into magnetic bacteria may guide research into medical nanorobots December 12th, 2018

A new 'spin' on kagome lattices: Team's findings shed new light on the presence of spin-orbit coupling and topological spin textures in kagome lattices December 9th, 2018

Milestone for bERLinPro: Photocathodes with high quantum efficiency December 8th, 2018

Harnessing the power of 'spin orbit' coupling in silicon: Scaling up quantum computation December 7th, 2018

Announcements

Oxford Instruments participates in the launch of the European Quantum Technology Flagship Programme ‘QMiCS’ December 13th, 2018

Insights into magnetic bacteria may guide research into medical nanorobots December 12th, 2018

Elliot Scientific now representing Raman Imaging specialists WITec in the UK and Eire - Unique correlative analysis in one instrument: Raman/AFM, Raman/SNOM December 10th, 2018

A new 'spin' on kagome lattices: Team's findings shed new light on the presence of spin-orbit coupling and topological spin textures in kagome lattices December 9th, 2018

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

Insights into magnetic bacteria may guide research into medical nanorobots December 12th, 2018

A new 'spin' on kagome lattices: Team's findings shed new light on the presence of spin-orbit coupling and topological spin textures in kagome lattices December 9th, 2018

Milestone for bERLinPro: Photocathodes with high quantum efficiency December 8th, 2018

Harnessing the power of 'spin orbit' coupling in silicon: Scaling up quantum computation December 7th, 2018

Nanobiotechnology

Insights into magnetic bacteria may guide research into medical nanorobots December 12th, 2018

A*STAR, One BioMed launch S$9m joint lab to make diagnostic kit for infectious diseases December 3rd, 2018

New research could fine-tune the gene scissors CRISPR December 1st, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast 2018 Fiscal Year End Results November 27th, 2018

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project