DNA motor programmed to navigate a network of tracks

January 22, 2012
A depiction of a DNA origami tile with a built-in network of tracks. The DNA engine or motor, in red, can be programmed to navigate a series of junctions to reach one of four desired end points. Credit: Sugiyama Lab, Kyoto University iCeMS.

Expanding on previous work with engines traveling on straight tracks, a team of researchers at Kyoto University and the University of Oxford have successfully used DNA building blocks to construct a motor capable of navigating a programmable network of tracks with multiple switches. The findings, published in the January 22 online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, are expected to lead to further developments in the field of nanoengineering.

The research utilizes the technology of DNA origami, where strands of are sequenced in a way that will cause them to self-assemble into desired 2D and even . In this latest effort, the scientists built a network of tracks and switches atop DNA origami tiles, which made it possible for to travel along these rail systems.

"We have demonstrated that it is not only possible to build that function autonomously," explained Dr. Masayuki Endo of Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS), "but that we can cause such devices to produce predictable outputs based on different, controllable starting conditions."

The team, including lead author Dr. Shelley Wickham at Oxford, expects that the work may lead to the development of even more complex systems, such as programmable molecular assembly lines and sophisticated sensors.

"We are really still at an early stage in designing DNA origami-based engineering systems," elaborated iCeMS Prof. Hiroshi Sugiyama. "The promise is great, but at the same time there are still many technical hurdles to overcome in order to improve the quality of the output. This is just the beginning for this new and exciting field."

Explore further: Physicists create first robust DNA building blocks

More information: The article, "A DNA-based molecular motor that can navigate a network of tracks" by Shelley F. J. Wickham, Jonathan Bath, Yousuke Katsuda, Masayuki Endo, Kumi Hidaka, Hiroshi Sugiyama, and Andrew J. Turberfield was published online in the January 22, 2011 issue of Nature Nanotechnology. DOI: 10.1038/NNANO.2011.253

Related Stories

Physicists create first robust DNA building blocks

December 9, 2005

Physicists from the University of Oxford have designed the first structurally robust, self-assembling DNA building blocks. The DNA tetrahedra, 10,000,000,000 (ten thousand million) of which could fit on the head of a pin, ...

Nanoscale origami from DNA

August 6, 2009

Scientists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and Harvard University have thrown the lid off a new toolbox for building nanoscale structures out of DNA, with complex twisting and curving shapes. In the August 7 ...

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 ...

DNA weaving: Two-dimensional crystals from DNA origami tiles

November 16, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- DNA is more than just a carrier for our genetic information; DNA is also an outstanding nanoscale building material, as researchers led by Ned Seeman discovered thirty years ago. Seeman and his colleagues ...

Recommended for you

Making nanowires from protein and DNA

September 3, 2015

The ability to custom design biological materials such as protein and DNA opens up technological possibilities that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. For example, synthetic structures made of DNA could one day be ...

Graphene made superconductive by doping with lithium atoms

September 2, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from Germany and Canada has found a way to make graphene superconductive—by doping it with lithium atoms. In their paper they have uploaded to the preprint server arXiv, the team describes ...

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base

September 2, 2015

Rice University scientists have theoretically determined that the properties of atom-thick sheets of boron depend on where those atoms land.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Argiod
1 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2012
Awesome: NanoRobotics... can't wait for the commercial nano robotics kit for experimenters...
Shifty0x88
not rated yet Jan 24, 2012
Good luck seeing the results, at 100nmx70nm that's awful small...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.