Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

DNA cages 'can survive inside living cells'

Date:
August 25, 2011
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
Scientists have shown for the first time that molecular cages made from DNA can enter and survive inside living cells.

Human embryonic kidney cells were used to test the DNA cages.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Oxford

Scientists at Oxford University have shown for the first time that molecular cages made from DNA can enter and survive inside living cells.

The work, a collaboration between physicists and molecular neuroscientists at Oxford, shows that artificial DNA cages that could be used to carry cargoes of drugs can enter living cells, potentially leading to new methods of drug delivery.

A report of the research is published online in the journal ACS Nano.

The cages developed by the researchers are made from four short strands of synthetic DNA. These strands are designed so that they naturally assemble themselves into a tetrahedron (a pyramid with four triangular faces) around 7 nanometres tall.

The Oxford researchers have previously shown that it is possible to assemble these cages around protein molecules, so that the protein is trapped inside, and that DNA cages can be programmed to open when they encounter specific 'trigger' molecules that are found inside cells.

In the new experiment they introduced fluorescently-labelled DNA tetrahedrons into human kidney cells grown in the laboratory. They then examined the cells under the microscope and found that the cages remained substantially intact, surviving attack by cellular enzymes, for at least 48 hours. This is a crucial advance: to be useful as a drug delivery vehicle, a DNA cage must enter cells efficiently and survive until it can release its cargo where and when it is needed.

'At the moment we are only testing our ability to create and control cages made of DNA,' said Professor Andrew Turberfield of Oxford University's Department of Physics, who led the work. 'However, these results are an important first step towards proving that DNA cages could be used to deliver cargoes, such as drugs, inside living cells.'

Professor Turberfield said: 'Previous studies have shown that the size of particles is an important factor in whether or not they can easily enter cells, with particles with a radius less than 50 nanometres proving much more successful at gaining entry than larger particles. At 7 nanometres across our DNA tetrahedrons are compact enough to easily enter cells but still large enough to carry a useful cargo. More work is now needed to understand exactly how these DNA cages manage to find their way inside living cells.'


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Anthony S. Walsh, HaiFang Yin, Christoph M. Erben, Matthew J. A. Wood, Andrew J. Turberfield. DNA Cage Delivery to Mammalian Cells. ACS Nano, 2011; 110628154938010 DOI: 10.1021/nn2005574

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "DNA cages 'can survive inside living cells'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714100319.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2011, August 25). DNA cages 'can survive inside living cells'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714100319.htm
University of Oxford. "DNA cages 'can survive inside living cells'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714100319.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) 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