September 24, 2015

DNA-based nanodevices for molecular medicine

Virus-protein -coated DNA origami nanostructures. With the help of protein encapsulation,
DNA origamis can be transported into human cells much more efficiently.
Image: Veikko Linko and Mauri Kostiainen.

Self-assembled DNA nanostructures can be used in molecular-scale diagnostics and as smart drug-delivery vehicles.

(September 24, 2015)  Researchers from Aalto University have published an article in the recent Trends in Biotechnology journal. The article discusses how DNA molecules can be assembled into tailored and complex nanostructures, and further, how these structures can find uses in therapeutics and bionanotechnological applications. In the review article, the researchers outline the superior properties of DNA nanostructures, and how these features enable the development of efficient biological DNA-nanomachines. Moreover, these DNA nanostructures provide new applications in molecular medicine, such as novel approaches in tackling cancer. Tailored DNA structures could find targeted cells and release their molecular payload (drugs or antibodies) selectively into these cells.

“Nowadays, software and techniques to design and simulate DNA nanostructures are extremely powerful and user-friendly, and thus, researchers can easily construct their own DNA-objects for various uses. The big boom in the field of structural DNA nanotechnology happened in 2006, when Paul Rothemund introduced a technique dubbed ‘DNA origami’. This method is the starting point for practically all other straightforward design approaches available today”, describes Veikko Linko, an Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher from Biohybrid Materials Group.

journal reference >>