Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemists Reach From The Molecular To The Real World With Creation Of 3-D DNA Crystals

Date:
September 3, 2009
Source:
New York University
Summary:
Chemists have created 3-D DNA structures, a breakthrough bridging the molecular world to the world where we live. The work also has a range of potential industrial and pharmaceutical applications, such as the creation of nanoelectronic components and the organization of drug receptor targets to enable illumination of their 3-D structures.

Chemists have created 3-D DNA structures -- a breakthrough with a range of potential industrial and pharmaceutical applications.
Credit: Image courtesy of New York University

New York University chemists have created three-dimensional DNA structures, a breakthrough bridging the molecular world to the world where we live. The work, reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature, also has a range of potential industrial and pharmaceutical applications, such as the creation of nanoelectronic components and the organization of drug receptor targets to enable illumination of their 3D structures.

While scientists, including those involved in this study, have previously designed and built crystal structures, these compositions have been two-dimensional—that is, their axes are on a single plane— and are not the most complete representation of crystals.

To address this limitation, the research team, headed by NYU Chemistry Professor Nadrian Seeman, sought to design and build three-dimensional DNA crystals—a process that requires significant spatial control of the 3D structure of matter. The project also included researchers from Purdue University's Department of Chemistry and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

To do this, the researchers created DNA crystals by making synthetic sequences of DNA that have the ability to self-assemble into a series of 3D triangle-like motifs. The creation of the crystals was dependent on putting "sticky ends"—small cohesive sequences on each end of the motif—that attach to other molecules and place them in a set order and orientation. The make-up of these sticky ends allows the motifs to attach to each other in a programmed fashion.

Seeman and his colleagues had previously created crystals using this process. However, because these crystals self-assembled on the same plane, they were two-dimensional in composition. In the work reported in Nature, the researchers expanded on the earlier efforts by taking advantage of DNA's double-helix structure to create 3D crystals. The 2D crystals are very small—about 1/1000th of a millimeter—but the 3D crystals are between 1/4 and 1 millimeter, visible to the naked eye.

DNA's double helices form when single strands of DNA—each containing four molecular components called bases, attached to backbone—self-assemble by matching up their bases. The researchers added sticky ends to these double helices, forming single-stranded overhangs to each double helix. Where these overhanging sticky ends were complementary, they bind together to link two double helices. This is a common technique used by genetic engineers, who apply it on a much larger scale. By linking together multiple helices through single-stranded sticky ends, the researchers were able to form a lattice-like structure that extends in six different directions, thereby yielding a 3D crystal.

"With this technique we can organize more matter and work with it in many more ways than we could with 2D crystals," Seeman observed.

A promising avenue for the application of this approach is in nanoelectronics, using components no bigger than single molecules. Currently, such products are built with 2D components. Given the enhanced flexibility that 3D components would yield, manufacturers could build parts that are smaller and closer together as well as more sophisticated in design.

The scientists also expect that they can organize biological macromolecules by attaching them to these crystals. This can help in the development of drugs because macromolecules arranged in crystals can be visualized by a technique known as X-ray crystallography. By adding drugs to these crystals, their interactions with these biological components can be visualized.

X-ray diffraction data were collected from DNA crystals and their iodinated derivatives on beamlines X6A and X25 at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York and on beamline ID19 at the Structural Biology Center at Advanced Photon Source in Argonne, Illinois.

Bob Sweet, a biophysicist and the leader of the group who run NSLS beamline X25, observed, "This is one of the neatest structures I've seen in years. It really connects biotechnology to nanotechnology. We've been helping these folks for over a dozen years, and they really hit the ball out of the park. It's beautiful!"

The research was supported by grants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research, and the W.M. Keck Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jianping Zheng, Jens J. Birktoft, Yi Chen, Tong Wang, Ruojie Sha, Pamela E. Constantinou, Stephan L. Ginell, Chengde Mao & Nadrian C. Seeman. From molecular to macroscopic via the rational design of a self-assembled 3D DNA crystal. Nature, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/nature08274

Cite This Page:

New York University. "Chemists Reach From The Molecular To The Real World With Creation Of 3-D DNA Crystals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902133631.htm>.
New York University. (2009, September 3). Chemists Reach From The Molecular To The Real World With Creation Of 3-D DNA Crystals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902133631.htm
New York University. "Chemists Reach From The Molecular To The Real World With Creation Of 3-D DNA Crystals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902133631.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) The Porsche Spyder 918 proves that, in an automotive world obsessed with fuel efficiency, the supercar is not dead. Porsche North America CEO Detlev von Platen attributes the brand's consistent sales growth -- 21% in 2013 -- with an investment in new technology and expanded performance dynamics. The hybrid Spyder 918 has 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque, but it can run 18 miles on just an electric charge. The $845,000 vehicle is not a consumer-targeted vehicle but a brand statement. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) Ford celebrated the 50th birthday of its beloved Mustang by displaying a new model of the convertible on top of the Empire State Building in New York. Duration: 00:28 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech

New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the U.S. auto industry. This year's show featured the latest in high technology, and automotive bling. (April 16) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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