Background of Project
Many kinds of active biomolecules such a kinesin and DNA walkers which are a class of motor proteins and artificial chemical devices have been studied, and their features inspired biomimetics, a large research area aiming at mimicking organism to design novel materials. One of the aims of biomimetics is to create motors by using recent DNA synthesis technologies. We challenged to design a DNA-based rotational structure, named “DNA screw.” Because genuine nano-scale rotating DNA motors are not yet demonstrated, designing such motors is a challenging subject. This structure consists of a small cylinder inside a large ring, which are connected by DNA strands. Since our structure is made of DNA, combining other existing DNA structures is feasible.
Process of the making DNA screw
The key components of DNA screw are three; A cylinder, a ring, and DNA spider. In addition, to visually see how the spider actually move, simulation is also an important factor of our project.
Vision for the future
First of all, our DNA screw is designed to be appled to phage-like functional structure(Figure P2). Phages make pores on the cellular surface and inject DNA or RNA genome inside cells. It has to be researched on what way the structure attaches to the surface and makes pores
In addition, one of our project’s applications is a suspension rod(Figure P3). Let’s imagine a pointer used in class lectures. The rod contains many cylinders and can extend and shrink by changing a relative distance of each cylinder. Inner cylinder corresponds to the DNA cylinder and outer one does to the DNA ring in our project. The rod stretching can be controlled by ordering DNA strands. For example, the rod, which has zigzag-placed strands in parallel to the cylinder's axis, can shrink and suspend spontaneously.
By using suspending movement, our DNA screw can act as a biophysical sensor which measures kinetic properties. For example, DNA screw can be applied to unfolding proteins. The cylinder is attached to a protein, the ring stretches protein’s one end.
Furthermore, this DNA suspension rod can provide a dynamical creating methodology for large micro-scale structures from nano-scale objects such as DNA tensegrity by Liedl et al. (2010). We assume that our DNA cylinders can function as strings and rod-shape structures such as carbon nanotube can work as rods. This method contains three steps. First, combining DNA cylinders and nano rods. Second, starting DNA spiders' movements and reaching a maximum-strength state. Third, cutting connections between DNA cylinders and nano rods and discomposing a large tensegrity structure.
Reference: Tim Liedl, Björn Högberg, Jessica Tytell, Donald E. Ingber, and William M. Shih, Self-assembly of 3D prestressed tensegrity structures from DNA. Nat Nanotechnol. 2010 July ; 5(7): 520–524.