Using DNA strands to pattern new polymer materials

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McGill University researchers have chemically imprinted polymer particles with DNA strands – a technique that could lead to new materials for applications trimming from biomedicine to a earnest margin of “soft robotics.”

In a investigate published in Nature Chemistry, a researchers report a process to emanate asymmetrical polymer particles that connect together in a spatially tangible manner, a approach that atoms come together to make molecules.

Although polymers are used in all from wardrobe and food wrapping to 3D copy and electronics, many self-assembled polymer structures have been singular to exquisite forms such as round or cylindrical shapes. Recently, however, scientists have focused on formulating non-symmetrical polymer structures — for instance ‘Janus’ particles with dual opposite ‘faces’ — and they are starting to learn sparkling new applications for these materials. One example: robotics done with soft, stretchable structures that can change figure in response to outmost stimuli.

The process described in a Nature Chemistry paper “introduces a programmable turn of classification that is now formidable to achieve in polymer chemistry,” says McGill Chemistry highbrow Hanadi Sleiman, comparison author of a study. “Chemically duplicating a information contained in DNA nanostructures offers a absolute resolution to a problem of size, figure and directional control for polymeric materials.”

Using DNA cages as molds

The new investigate builds on a technique grown in 2013 by Sleiman’s investigate organisation to make nanoscale “cages” from strands of DNA, and things them with lipid-like polymer bondage that overlay together into a ball-shaped molecule that can enclose load such as drug molecules.

To take that nano-engineering attainment a step further, Sleiman and her PhD tyro Tuan Trinh teamed adult with colleagues during a University of Vermont and Texas AM University during Qatar. Together, a researchers grown a process to impress a polymer round with DNA strands organised in pre-designed orientations. The cages can afterwards be undone, withdrawal behind DNA-imprinted polymer particles able of self-assembling – most like DNA, itself – in pre-designed patterns. Because a DNA cages are used as a ‘mold’ to build a polymer particle, a molecule distance and series of molecular units in a polymer can be precisely controlled, says Sleiman, who binds a Canada Research Chair in DNA Nanoscience.

The asymmetrical polymer structures could be used eventually in a operation of applications, a researchers say.  One intensity example: multi-compartment polymer particles, with any cell encapsulating a opposite drug that could be delivered regulating opposite stimuli during opposite times. Another possibility: porous membranes that are asymmetric, so they approach molecules along specific paths to apart then.

Funding for a investigate was supposing by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, a Canadian Institutes for Health Research, a Centre for Self-Assembled Chemical Structures, a Qatar Research Foundation, and a Canada Research Chairs Program.

“DNA-imprinted polymer nanoparticles with monodispersity and prescribed DNA-strand patterns,” Tuan Trinh et al, Nature Chemistry, published online.

Source: McGill University


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