DNA engine observed in real-time traveling along base pair track

Feb 06, 2011

In a complex feat of nanoengineering, a team of scientists at Kyoto University and the University of Oxford have succeeded in creating a programable molecular transport system, the workings of which can be observed in real time. The results, appearing in the latest issue of Nature Nanotechnology, open the door to the development of advanced drug delivery methods and molecular manufacturing systems.

Resembling a monorail train, the system relies on the self-assembly properties of DNA origami and consists of a 100 nm track together with a motor and fuel. Using (AFM), the research team was able to observe in real time as this motor traveled the full length of the track at a constant average speed of around 0.1 nm/s.

"The track and motor interact to generate forward motion in the motor," explained Dr. Masayuki Endo of Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS). "By varying the distance between the rail 'ties,' for example, we can adjust the speed of this motion."

The research team, including lead author Dr. Shelley Wickham at Oxford, anticipates that these results will have broad implications for future development of programable molecular assembly lines leading to the creation of synthetic ribosomes.

" origami techniques allow us to build nano- and meso-sized structures with great precision," elaborated iCeMS Prof. Hiroshi Sugiyama. "We already envision more complex track geometries of greater length and even including junctions. Autonomous, molecular manufacturing robots are a possible outcome."

Explore further: Chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time

More information: The article, "Direct observation of stepwise movement of a synthetic molecular transporter" by Shelley F. J. Wickham, Masayuki Endo, Yousuke Katsuda, Kumi Hidaka, Jonathan Bath, Hiroshi Sugiyama, and Andrew J. Turberfield, was published online in the February 6, 2011 issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

Provided by Kyoto University

4.9 /5 (14 votes)

Related Stories

Chemists create novel DNA assembly line

May 12, 2010

Chemists at New York University and China's Nanjing University have created a DNA assembly line that has the potential to create novel materials efficiently on the nanoscale. Their work is reported in the latest issue of ...

Chemists create bipedal, autonomous DNA walker

Apr 02, 2009

Chemists at New York University and Harvard University have created a bipedal, autonomous DNA "walker" that can mimic a cell's transportation system. The device, which marks a step toward more complex synthetic molecular ...

Researchers shake up scientific theory on motor protein

Feb 05, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- An international team of scientists led by the University of Leeds has shed new light on the little-understood motor protein called dynein, thought to be involved in progressive neurological ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Arikin
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
Please try not to vary from the original titles. I know what I am about to read if you used the original:
"Direct observation of stepwise movement of a synthetic molecular transporter"

But where oh where is the DNA. Really?! This is nano tech not biology. One is tricked into thinking this article is about DNA and RNA processing by cells... Which would be wonderful to see in real time.
kevinrtrs
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 07, 2011
Now here we have a highly intelligent team making use of knowledge already contained inside the cell to build a copy of what they've seen in operation there.

So how did the cell get to have that kind of construction inside itself such that it is only now that human beings are able to replicate some of it?

The construction of the motor on the track was by no means an accident, some random mashing together of chemical to form this structure. No, instead it took a team of highly intelligent people with loads of tools, time, energy and finance to come up with this - a COPY of what already exists. Evolution not required. We were created by a superior mind.
PaulieMac
4.4 / 5 (7) Feb 07, 2011
The construction of the motor on the track was by no means an accident, some random mashing together of chemical to form this structure. No, instead it took a team of highly intelligent people with loads of tools, time, energy and finance to come up with this - a COPY of what already exists. Evolution not required. We were created by a superior mind.


So, to boil your argument down: humans have built something complex, therefore life -and indeed the universe itself - was created by an all-powerful sky fairy?

Even by your laughably low standards, this is an argument so lacking in logic as to border on the witless...

Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
I hope you don't have kids Kev. You've already lined them up for future life failure.
ettinone
not rated yet Feb 07, 2011
Personally I am waiting for Kev to respond to the La Nina article.

In that article they mention how the La Nina effect can sometimes last up to two years... that would put us right on target for a superior mind wipe out in December 2012. It can't be conincidence right?

< sarcasm on >
Worlds_greatest_scientist
5 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
All I can say is this is an amazing piece of research

More news stories

Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells

(Phys.org) —A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers in collaboration with scientists from University ...

Polymer microparticles could help verify goods

Some 2 to 5 percent of all international trade involves counterfeit goods, according to a 2013 United Nations report. These illicit products—which include electronics, automotive and aircraft parts, pharmaceuticals, ...

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...