By being placed into a lipid sheet, the artificial membrane channel can be used to load double-stranded DNA, drugs or other therapeutic material into the liposome, other compartments, or potentially into a cell through the membrane.
Guo also says the process by which the DNA travels through the membrane can have larger applications.
"The idea that a DNA molecule travels through the nanopore, advancing nucleotide by nucleotide, could lead to the development of a single pore DNA sequencing apparatus, an area of strong national interest," he says.
Using stochastic sensing, a new analytical technique used in nanopore work, Wendell says researchers can characterize and identify material, like DNA, moving through the membrane.
Co-first author and UC postdoctoral fellow Peng Jing, PhD, says that, compared with traditional research methods, the successful embedding of the nanomotor into the membrane may also provide researchers with a new way to study the DNA packaging mechanisms of the viral nanomotor. "Specifically, we are able to investigate the details concerning how double-stranded DNA translocates through the protein channel," he says.
The study is the next step in research on using nanomotors to package and deliver therapeutic agents directly to infected cells. Eventually, the team's work could enable use of nanoscale medical devices to diagnose and treat diseases.
"This motor is one of the strongest bio motors discovered to date," says Wendell, "If you can use that force to move a nanoscale rotor or a nanoscale machine you're converting the force of the motor into a machine that might do something useful."
|Contact: Katy Cosse|
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center