The 5-nanometer long device represents a new way of tracking protein structural changes over time.
The results are so exciting that we are currently working on setting up a company to commercialize this nanoantenna and make it accessible to as many researchers as possible., explains in a press release Alexis Vallée-Bélisle, professor of chemistry at UdeM and main author of the study published in the journal Nature MethodsHave (New window)Have (in English).
000times smaller than a human hair, we’ve created a fluorescent nanoantenna made from DNA that can help precisely define protein function “,” text “:” Inspired by the LEGO-like properties of DNA , whose building blocks are typically 20,000 times smaller than a human hair, we’ve created a fluorescent nanoantenna made from DNA that can help precisely define protein function “}}”>Inspired by the LEGO-like properties of DNA, whose building blocks are typically 20,000 times smaller than a human hair, we have created a fluorescent nanoantenna made from DNA that can help precisely define the protein function, continues Professor Vallée-Bélisle.
A first DNA synthesizer that makes it possible to design molecules encoding genetic information was created more than 40 years ago. However, in recent years, chemists have realized that DNA can also be used to develop nanostructures and nanomachines.
Like a two-way radio
Like a two-way radio that can both receive and transmit radio waves,
the fluorescent nanoantenna receives light in the form of a color or wavelength and, depending on the movement of the protein it detects, it reflects the light in another color, which the researchers can distinguish.
The receiving part of the antenna can also be used to
locate the molecular surface of the studied protein by a molecular interaction, note the researchers.
Doctoral student Scott Harroun, first author of the study, explains that DNA chemistry is relatively simple and programmable, which is an advantage for the design of DNA-based nanoantennas that
can be synthesized with different lengths and flexibilities to optimize their efficiency.
” We can easily attach a fluorescent molecule to DNA, then attach this fluorescent nanoantenna to a biological nanomachine, like an enzyme. [qui est une sorte de catalyseur à l’échelle nanométrique]. “
A promising tool
The development of such antennas gives hope for many breakthroughs in biochemistry and nanotechnology.
” For example, we were able to detect, in real time and for the first time, the function of the enzyme alkaline phosphatase with a variety of biological molecules and drugs. “
The enzyme alkaline phosphatase is associated with many diseases, including several cancers and certain intestinal inflammations.
The Quebec creation could therefore serve to better define the functioning of proteins, and possibly to allow the creation of new drugs.
What excites us the most is realizing that many laboratories around the world equipped with conventional spectrofluorometers could easily use these nanoantennas., rejoices Professor Vallée-Bélisle.