Saturday, May 16, 2009

DNA Boxes

Jorgen Kjems and Ebbe Andersen with 12 other researchers in Denmark and Germany have made a box out of DNA as a structural material -- so-called DNA origami. 

 This is a box that is 30-40 nanometers on a side!

Plus it has a lid that opens!

This may not be worth a Nobel prize but it is a fascinating achievement. The fact that it has a latch and someone can put something inside seems secondary.

This shows how the DNA was folded. The structure self-assembles.

The DNA was from an M13MP18 bacteriophage that was folded into sheets.  The sheets were held together with "staple" strands into a cuboid shape. This is described in Paul Ruthermund's Nature paper. Then it was heat annealed to keep it from coming apart.  See my next post for more on DNA origami.