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 August 30, 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 August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) — Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) — Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) — An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. 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:
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