DNA cube programmed for an exclusive reveal


Scientists in Canada have made DNA cubes that are programmed to unzip and reveal molecules locked inside them in response to a carefully chosen trigger. Hanadi Sleiman and colleagues at McGill University and the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, designed the cubes to release the drug cargo they might be carrying only in diseased cells and not normal cells.

The mRNA trigger binds tothe overhangs and opens the cube by strand displacement and strategically placed nicks on the structure

‘In the future, we would like to use our DNA cubes in the treatment of cancer and other diseases with a genetic component,’ says Sleiman. The cube opens into a flat assembly when a specific RNA sequence, in this case a gene product that is unique to prostate cancer cells, binds to two single-stranded DNA overhangs on the corners of the cube, disrupting the hydrogen-bonds that maintain the cube’s shape. Sleiman says it would be easy to change the sequence to which the cube responds and since the cube has two overhangs, ‘it would also be possible to make a cube that responds to two different triggers.’

The DNA cube was also modified with hydrophobic and hydrophilic chains to modulate its cellular uptake and prevent enzymatic degradation.

‘Compared with previous DNA origami-based designs the present system does not rely on the use of M13 [bacteriophage] DNA and can therefore be applied to many targets,’ comments Hiroshi Sugiyama, a DNA nanotechnology expert at Kyoto University in Japan.

 

Next the team hope to demonstrate the encapsulation and release of sensitive oligonucleotide drugs, such as siRNA, using their new DNA platform.

References

This paper is free to access until 27 May 2014. Download it here:

K E Bujold et al, Chem. Sci., 2014, DOI: 10.1039/c4sc00646a


Related Content

Chemistry World podcast - January 2013

7 January 2013 Podcast | Monthly

news image

David MacMillan talks building design, John Rogers discusses nanofabrication and the team cover the latest news

Persuading proteins to form porous polyhedra

13 November 2014 Research

news image

Protein cage structure shows the way to building biomolecular architectures

Most Read

'Safe antifreeze' works better with added nanoparticles

26 March 2015 Research

news image

Antifreezes based on a non-toxic food additive are now more effective and user-friendly

Simple cooking changes make healthier rice

23 March 2015 Research

news image

Adding oil to water, cooling and reheating rice makes fibre-like resistant starch, reducing calories

Most Commented

Worrying molecule found in bottled water

9 September 2013 Research

news image

Analysis finds a new endocrine disrupting chemical in bottled water

Sewage offers attractive source of precious metals

27 March 2015 Research

news image

US Geological Survey team finds valuable metals in treated sewage and is working on the difficult problem of extraction