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 September 17, 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 September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. 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