Navigation Links
Caltech scientists create DNA tubes with programmable sizes for nanoscale manufacturing

PASADENA, Calif.--Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a simple process for mass producing molecular tubes of identical--and precisely programmable--circumferences. The technological feat may allow the use of the molecular tubes in a number of nanotechnology applications.

The molecular tubes are composed of wound-up strands of DNA. DNA has been considered an ideal construction material for self-assembling molecular structures and devices because two complementary DNA strands can automatically recognize and bind with each other. DNA has been used to form rigid building blocks, known as tiles, and these tiles can further assemble into extended lattice structures, including tubes. However, it has been difficult to control the diameters of such tubes.

Peng Yin, a senior postdoctoral scholar in bioengineering and computer science at Caltech's Center for Biological Circuit Design, along with his colleagues has designed a series of flexible, single-stranded DNA molecules, called single-stranded DNA tiles. Each single-stranded tile is exactly 42 bases long and contains four modular binding sites. By pairing up the complementary binding sites, these single-stranded tiles bind with each other in a particular orientation like Lego pieces snapped together, forming a tube composed of parallel DNA helices.

The circumference of the resulting tube is determined by the number of different 42-base pieces used in its construction. For example, four pieces create a tube with a circumference of 12 billionths of a meter (or 12 nanometers); five pieces, a 15-nanometer-circumference tube; and six pieces, an 18-nanometer tube.

"We are not the first to make DNA tubes with controlled circumferences. However, compared with previous approaches, our method is distinctively simple and modular," says Yin. The simplicity and modularity of their approach permits the description of the tube design using a simple graphical abstraction system developed earlier this year in the laboratory of Niles Pierce, associate professor_of applied and computational mathematics and bioengineering at Caltech.

Just as a variety of wood sizes are used in construction projects--two by four inches for framing walls, two by eight inches for roof rafters, or four by four inches for fence posts--having nanotubes of various, precisely controlled sizes provides their user with more options. In addition, nanotubes of different sizes have varying mechanical properties; for example, tubes with a smaller diameter are more flexible and tubes with a larger diameter are more rigid. The nanotubes might eventually serve as templates for manufacturing nanowires with controlled diameters; the diameters of electron-conducting nanowires would help determine the electronic properties of the devices they are used to construct.

"The simplicity of the single-stranded tile approach promises to enable us to design ever more complex self-assembling molecular systems. The work is simultaneously elegant and useful," says Erik Winfree, associate professor of computer science, computation and neural systems, and bioengineering at Caltech. Winfree's laboratory was the primary host of Yin's research at Caltech.


Contact: Kathy Svitil
California Institute of Technology

Related biology news :

1. Caltech researchers awarded $10M for molecular programming project
2. Caltech engineers build mini drug-producing biofactories in yeast
3. Caltech neurobiologists discover individuals who hear movement
4. Caltech scientists awarded $20 million to Power the Planet
5. Caltech researchers find dual-use sexual attraction and population-control chemicals in nematodes
6. UNC, Caltech research finds further evidence for genetic contribution to autism
7. Indiana U researchers launch social networking and research management tool for scientists
8. CSHL scientists identify new drug target against virulent type of breast cancer
9. Senescence in liver cells is found by CSHL scientists to help limit acute tissue damage
10. NYU scientists identify critical protein complex in formation of cell cilia
11. Johns Hopkins scientists discover what drives the development of a fatal form of malaria
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... 2015 Paris , ... --> Paris , qui s,est tenu ... le leader de l,innovation biométrique, a inventé le premier ... empreintes sur la même surface de balayage. Jusqu,ici, deux ... pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, un seul scanner est ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... SOUTH EASTON, Mass. , Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), a leader in the development and sale of ... to the worldwide life sciences industry, today announced it ... closing of its $5 million Private Placement (the "Offering"), ... Offering to $4,025,000.  One or more additional closings are ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed healthy ... (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating this ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene ... disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of Lou ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... CITY , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... affirms that its business and prospects remain fundamentally ... , Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation ... to completion following review of the final interim ... Phase 2 Primary Endpoint in men with heavily ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... Research Report is a professional and in-depth study ...      (Logo: ) , ... of the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and ... provided for the international markets including development trends, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... HILLS, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... as the recipient of the 2016 USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, ... golf through his or her work with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" or "the Company") (TSX-V: ICO) ... quarter ended September 30, 2015. Amounts, unless specified ... under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). ... Andrew Rae , President & CEO of iCo ... value enriching for this clinical program, but also ...
Breaking Biology Technology: