Artificial Membrane Nanopores Made from DNA: Nanostructures for Synthetic Biology, Cancer Research, and Single-Molecule Sensing - by Stefan Howorka
Stefan Howorka Department of Chemistry, University College London
Host: Liviu Movileanu | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, email@example.com
Membrane nanopores and ion channels are essential in cells and control the transport of molecular cargo across bilayers. Replicating biological channels with artificial, rationally designed nanostructures can open up new applications. I describe the generation of stable self-assembled DNA nanopores that insert into lipid bilayers to facilitate transport across the membranes. The DNA channels are composed of interlinked duplexes and carry lipid anchors to hold the negatively charged channels in the membrane(1,2,3). One DNA version mimics the function of biological ligand-gated ion channels where a DNA ligand can re-open the channel(2). The pore can also distinguish with high selectivity the transport of small-molecule cargo that differs by the presence of a positive or negative charge. The synthetic analogue may be used for controlled drug release and the building of cell-like networks. Related DNA channels show other hallmarks of the biological templates such as voltage-gating at high transmembrane potentials(2,3,4). The artificial pores can furthermore be programmed to function as cytotoxic agents by killing cancer cells via membrane-rupturing(5). The synthetic pores expand the range of other DNA nanostructures that mimic biological functions of membrane proteins to control bilayer and cell shape(6).
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(2) Nat. Nanotechnol. 2016 11 152.
(3) ACS Nano 2015 9 1117.
(4) ACS Nano 2015 9 11209.
(5) Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014 53 12466; Nat. Chem. 2014 7 17.
(6) Science 2016 352 890.