Scientists designed first large DNA crystal could create revolutionary nanodevices

DNA crystals designed, could create revolutionary nanodevices

10:42 AM, 20th October 2014
Scientists designed first large DNA crystal which could create revolutionary nanodevices
Researchers have achieved 32 different–shaped crystal structures using the DNA–brick self–assembly method.

BOSTON, US: Scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depths and complex 3D features, which could create revolutionary nanodevices. DNA has garnered attention for its potential as a programmable material platform that could spawn entire new and revolutionary nanodevices in computer science, microscopy, biology, and more. Researchers have been working to master the ability to coax DNA molecules to self assemble into the precise shapes and sizes needed in order to fully realize these nanotechnology dreams.

For the last 20 years, scientists have tried to design large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depth and complex features - a design quest just fulfilled by a team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The team built 32 DNA crystals with precisely - defined depth and an assortment of sophisticated three -dimensional (3D) features, an advance reported in Nature Chemistry.

The team used their “DNA-brick self-assembly” method, which was first unveiled in a 2012 Science publication when they created more than 100 3D complex nanostructures about the size of viruses. The newly–achieved periodic crystal structures are more than 1000 times larger than those discrete DNA brick structures, sizing up closer to a speck of dust, which is actually quite large in the world of DNA nanotechnology.

“We are very pleased that our DNA brick approach has solved this challenge and we were actually surprised by how well it works,” said Peng Yin, PhD, Senior Author and Wyss Institute Core Faculty member, who is also an Associate Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School.

Scientists have struggled to crystallize complex 3D DNA nanostructures using more conventional self–assembly methods. The risk of error tends to increase with the complexity of the structural repeating units and the size of the DNA crystal to be assembled.

The DNA brick method uses short, synthetic strands of DNA that work like interlocking Lego bricks to build complex structures. Structures are first designed using a computer model of a molecular cube, which becomes a master canvas. Each brick is added or removed independently from the 3D master canvas to arrive at the desired shape - and then the design is put into action: the DNA strands that would match up to achieve the desired structure are mixed together and self assemble to achieve the designed crystal structures.

“Therein lies the key distinguishing feature of our design strategy–its modularity. The ability to simply add or remove pieces from the master canvas makes it easy to create virtually any design,” said Yonggang Ke, PhD, co–lead author, formerly a Wyss Institute Postdoctoral Fellow and now an Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.
The modularity also makes it relatively easy to precisely define the crystal depth. “This is the first time anyone has demonstrated the ability to rationally design crystal depth with nanometer precision, up to 80 nm in this study,” said Ke. In contrast, previous two-dimensional DNA lattices are typically single–layer structures with only 2 nm depth.

“DNA crystals are attractive for nanotechnology applications because they are comprised of repeating structural units that provide an ideal template for scalable design features,” said co–lead author graduate student Luvena Ong.

Furthermore, as part of this study the team demonstrated the ability to position gold nanoparticles into prescribed 2D architectures less than two nanometers apart from each other along the crystal structure - a critical feature for future quantum devices and a significant technical advance for their scalable production, said co–lead author Wei Sun, PhD, Wyss Institute Postdoctoral Fellow.

“My preconceived notions of the limitations of DNA have been consistently shattered by our new advances in DNA nanotechnology. DNA nanotechnology now makes it possible for us to assemble, in a programmable way, prescribed structures rivaling the complexity of many molecular machines we see in Nature,” said William Shih, PhD, who is co–author of the study and a Wyss Institute Founding Core Faculty member, as well as Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Cancer Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“Peng’s team is using the DNA–brick self–assembly method to build the foundation for the new landscape of DNA nanotechnology at an impressive pace. What have been mere visions of how the DNA molecule could be used to advance everything from the semiconductor industry to biophysics are fast becoming realities,” said Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., Founding Director, Wyss Institute.

The work involved collaborators from Aarhus University in Denmark and was supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Army Research Office (ARO), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

© Wyss Institute News

0 Comments

Login

Your Comments (Up to 2000 characters)
Please respect our community and the integrity of its participants. WOC reserves the right to moderate and approve your comment.

Related News


New research helps prevent over charging of batteries, improves safety of electronics

LEXINGTON, US: Research from the University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry will help batteries resist overcharging, improving the safety of elect ...

Read more
Kuraray to sell European polyvinyl butyral film business

TOKYO, JAPAN: Kuraray Co Ltd has reached an agreement to sell the European polyvinyl butyral (PVB) film business formerly owned by European subsidiari ...

Read more
Yara, CF Industries end fertilizer merger talks

DEERFIELD, US/OSLO, NORWAY: CF Industries Holdings Inc ended merger talks with Norway’s Yara International ASA after the companies failed to agr ...

Read more
Sugar mill fined approximately $1 million for polluting river Ganga in India

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has cracked the whip on industries that have been polluting river Ganga. It has imposed a Rs 5 cro ...

Read more
Cigarette ashes can remove arsenic from drinking water

WASHINGTON DC, US: Arsenic, a well-known poison, can be taken out of drinking water using sophisticated treatment methods. But in places that lack the ...

Read more
Symrise launches subsidiary in Nigeria

HOLZMINDEN, GERMANY: Symrise has launched a subsidiary in Lagos, Nigeria. With this move, it is strengthening its presence in Africa. The location wil ...

Read more
www.worldofchemicals.com uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X