NYU, Nanjing U. chemists create DNA assembly line

May 12, 2010

Chemists at New York University and China's Nanjing University have created a DNA assembly line that has the potential to create novel materials efficiently on the nanoscale. Their work is reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

"An industrial assembly line includes a factory, workers, and a conveyor system," said NYU Chemistry Professor Nadrian Seeman, the study's senior author. "We have emulated each of those features using DNA components."

The assembly line relies on three DNA-based components.

The first is DNA origami, a composition that uses a few hundred short DNA strands to direct a very long DNA strand to form structures to any desired shape. These shapes are approximately 100 x 100 nanometers in area, and about 2 nm thick (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter). DNA origami serves as the assembly line's framework and also houses its track.

The second are three DNA machines, or cassettes, that serve as programmable cargo-donating devices. The cargo species the researchers used are gold nanoparticles, which measure 5 to 10 nanometers in diameter. Changing the cassette's control sequences allows the researchers to enable or prevent the donation of the cargoes to the growing construct.

The third is a DNA "walker," which is analogous to the chassis of a car being assembled. It moves along the assembly line's track, stopping at the DNA machines to collect and carry the DNA "cargo."

As the walker moves along the pathway prescribed by the origami tile track, it encounters sequentially the three DNA devices. These devices can be switched between an "on" state, allowing its cargo to be transferred to the walker, and an "off" state, in which no transfer occurs. In this way, the DNA product at the end of the assembly line may include cargo picked up from one, two, or three of the DNA machines.

"A key feature of the assembly line is the programmability of the cargo-donating DNA machines, which allows the generation of eight different products," explained Seeman.
-end-


New York University

Related DNA Articles from Brightsurf:

A new twist on DNA origami
A team* of scientists from ASU and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) led by Hao Yan, ASU's Milton Glick Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences, and director of the ASU Biodesign Institute's Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, has just announced the creation of a new type of meta-DNA structures that will open up the fields of optoelectronics (including information storage and encryption) as well as synthetic biology.

Solving a DNA mystery
''A watched pot never boils,'' as the saying goes, but that was not the case for UC Santa Barbara researchers watching a ''pot'' of liquids formed from DNA.

Junk DNA might be really, really useful for biocomputing
When you don't understand how things work, it's not unusual to think of them as just plain old junk.

Designing DNA from scratch: Engineering the functions of micrometer-sized DNA droplets
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have constructed ''DNA droplets'' comprising designed DNA nanostructures.

Does DNA in the water tell us how many fish are there?
Researchers have developed a new non-invasive method to count individual fish by measuring the concentration of environmental DNA in the water, which could be applied for quantitative monitoring of aquatic ecosystems.

Zigzag DNA
How the cell organizes DNA into tightly packed chromosomes. Nature publication by Delft University of Technology and EMBL Heidelberg.

Scientists now know what DNA's chaperone looks like
Researchers have discovered the structure of the FACT protein -- a mysterious protein central to the functioning of DNA.

DNA is like everything else: it's not what you have, but how you use it
A new paradigm for reading out genetic information in DNA is described by Dr.

A new spin on DNA
For decades, researchers have chased ways to study biological machines.

From face to DNA: New method aims to improve match between DNA sample and face database
Predicting what someone's face looks like based on a DNA sample remains a hard nut to crack for science.

Read More: DNA News and DNA Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.