Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virus As Nano-building Block: Extreme Nature Helps Scientists Design Nano Materials

Date:
October 16, 2008
Source:
John Innes Centre
Summary:
Scientists are using designs in nature from extreme environments to overcome the challenges of producing materials on the nanometre scale. They have now identified a stable, modifiable virus that could be used as a nanobuilding block.

SIRV2 nanoparticle.
Credit: Image courtesy of John Innes Centre

Scientists are using designs in nature from extreme environments to overcome the challenges of producing materials on the nanometre scale. A team from the UK’s John Innes Centre, the Scripps Research Institute in California and the Institut Pasteur in Paris have identified a stable, modifiable virus that could be used as a nanobuilding block.

Related Articles


Viral nanoparticles (VNPs) are ideally sized, can be produced in large quantities, and are very stable and robust. They can self-assemble with very high precision, but are also amenable to modification by chemical means or genetic engineering.

Some applications of VNPs require them to withstand extremely harsh conditions. Uses in electrical systems may expose them to high temperatures, and biomedical uses can involve exposure to highly acidic conditions. VNPs able to remain functional in these conditions are therefore desirable. The team identified viruses from the hot acidic sulphurous springs in Iceland. One of these, SIRV2, was assessed for its suitability for use as a viral nanobuilding block.

SIRV2 is a virus that infects Sulfolobus islandicus, a single-celled microorganism that grows optimally at 80C and at pH 3, and it was also able to withstand other harsh environments created in the laboratory. This shows that the rigid, rod-shaped SIRV2 virus capsule must be very stable, an important characteristic for use as a nanobuilding block. To be potentially useful as a VNP, the viral capsule also needs to be open to modification or decoration with functional chemical groups.

The researchers found that, depending on the chemistry used, modifications could be targeted specifically to the ends of the virus particle, to its body, or both. This spatially controlled modification is unique to this VNP, and opens up new possibilities when the nanobuilding blocks are built up into arrays or layers. Since the virus body and ends can be selectively labelled it is expected that arrays with different physical properties can be fabricated, for example by aligning particles body-to-body versus self-assembly end-to-end. This option is not possible with other rod-shaped VNPs.

“Future applications may be found in liquid crystal assembly, nanoscale templating, nanoelectronic and biomedical applications.” said Dr Dave Evans of the John Innes Centre.

“Further studies towards the development of these VNPs for materials are currently underway”, said Dr Nicole F. Steinmetz of the Scripps Research Institute. “We are looking into the use of the particles to generate complex structures such as rings or tetrapods”.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by John Innes Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicole F. Steinmetz, Ariane Bize, Kim C. Findlay, George P. Lomonossoff, Marianne Manchester, David J. Evans, David Prangishvili. Site-specific and spatially controlled addressability of a new viral nanobuilding block: Sulfolobus islandicus rod-shaped virus. Advanced Functional Materials, November 10, 2008 DOI: 10.1002/adfm.200800711

Cite This Page:

John Innes Centre. "Virus As Nano-building Block: Extreme Nature Helps Scientists Design Nano Materials." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081014092722.htm>.
John Innes Centre. (2008, October 16). Virus As Nano-building Block: Extreme Nature Helps Scientists Design Nano Materials. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081014092722.htm
John Innes Centre. "Virus As Nano-building Block: Extreme Nature Helps Scientists Design Nano Materials." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081014092722.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins