Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiny 'Lego' blocks build Janus nanotubes with potential for new drugs and water purification

Date:
November 14, 2013
Source:
University of Warwick
Summary:
Researchers have created tiny protein tubes named after the Roman god Janus which may offer a new way to accurately channel drugs into the body’s cells.

Researchers have created tiny protein tubes named after the Roman god Janus which may offer a new way to accurately channel drugs into the body's cells.

Using a process which they liken to molecular Lego, scientists from the University of Warwick and the University of Sydney have created what they have named 'Janus nanotubes' -- very small tubes with two distinct faces. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

They are named after the Roman god Janus who is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and the past.

The Janus nanotubes have a tubular structure based on the stacking of cyclic peptides, which provide a tube with a channel of around 1nm (around one millionth of a mm) -- the right size to allow small molecules and ions to pass through.

Attached to each of the cyclic peptides are two different types of polymers, which tend to de-mix and form a shell for the tube with two faces -- hence the name Janus nanotubes.

The faces provide two remarkable properties -- in the solid state, they could be used to make solid state membranes which can act as molecular 'sieves' to separate liquids and gases one molecule at a time. This property is promising for applications such as water purification, water desalination and gas storage.

In a solution, they assemble in lipids bilayers, the structure that forms the membrane of cells, and they organise themselves to form pores which allow the passage of molecules of precise sizes. In this state they could be used for the development of new drug systems, by controlling the transport of small molecules or ions inside cells.

Sebastien Perrier of the University of Warwick said: "There is an extraordinary amount of activity inside the body to move the right chemicals in the right amounts both into and out of cells.

"Much of this work is done by channel proteins, for example in our nervous system where they modulate electrical signals by gating the flow of ions across the cell membrane.

"As ion channels are a key component of a wide variety of biological process, for example in cardiac, skeletal and muscle contraction, T-cell activation and pancreatic beta-cell insulin release, they are a frequent target in the search for new drugs.

"Our work has created a new type of material -- nanotubes -- which can be used to replace these channel processes and can be controlled with a much higher level of accuracy than natural channel proteins.

"Through a process of molecular engineering -- a bit like molecular Lego -- we have assembled the nanotubes from two types of building blocks -- cyclic peptides and polymers.

"Janus nanotubes are a versatile platform for the design of exciting materials which have a wide range of application, from membranes -- for instance for the purification of water, to therapeutic uses, for the development of new drug systems."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Maarten Danial, Carmen My-Nhi Tran, Philip G. Young, Sιbastien Perrier, Katrina A. Jolliffe. Janus cyclic peptide–polymer nanotubes. Nature Communications, 2013; 4 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3780

Cite This Page:

University of Warwick. "Tiny 'Lego' blocks build Janus nanotubes with potential for new drugs and water purification." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114094912.htm>.
University of Warwick. (2013, November 14). Tiny 'Lego' blocks build Janus nanotubes with potential for new drugs and water purification. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114094912.htm
University of Warwick. "Tiny 'Lego' blocks build Janus nanotubes with potential for new drugs and water purification." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114094912.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) — When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) — 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) 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