The figure shows a nanocage in which eight unique DNA molecules are mixed together. The nanocage has four functional elements that transform themselves in response to changes in the surrounding temperature. These transformations either close (1A) or open (1B) the nanocage. By exploiting the temperature changes in the surroundings, the researchers trapped an active enzyme called horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in the nanocage (1C) (Figure: Sissel Juul)
A team of researchers from the department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University in Denmark have developed a DNA-based nanorobot, or ‘nanocage’, with the aim of simplifying the transport of medicine throughout the body. The researchers enabled the nanocage to be capable of self assembly by designing eight unique DNA molecules with specific properties that allow them to aggregate into a three-dimensional structure when mixed together. The three-dimensional structure consists of a central cavity and an outer lattice, with four functional elements that allow the cage to open and close in response to changes in temperature. The researchers demonstrated the functionality of the cage by successfully encapsulating the active enzyme horseradish peroxidase (HRP) using temperature changes, and have demonstrated that the nanocage, along with it’s payload, can be taken up by cultured cells.
The aim of this research is to develop a biomolecular transport vehicle for the delivery of medicine in the body. Hopefully, the DNA nanocage will be successful in a more complicated environment such as the human body.
Aarhus University: NANOROBOT FOR TRANSPORTING DRUGS IN THE BODY
ACS Nano: Temperature-Controlled Encapsulation and Release of an Active Enzyme in the Cavity of a Self-Assembled DNA Nanocage
Yona is a student at Illinois Institute of Technology studying Technical Writing. He is an avid musician, lover of all technology, photographer, and writer. He was born in Israel and currently lives in Chicago. Yona spends most of his free time playing guitar, biking, and enjoying nature.