Biomineralization is the formation of inorganic materials in a biological environment, as it is found in bones, teeth and shells. Certain biominerals are also often associated with pathogeneses of tissues. The correlation of the composition of biominerals with pathogeneses of tissues has not been investigated systematically. In new work, researchers examine how the composition of biominerals correlates with the production of inflammatory cytokines associated with the stimulation of intracellular DNA sensors and by biominerals themselves.
Research related to molecular logic gates is a fast growing and very active area and molecular devices have become the new frontier in computing. Researchers now have designed and synthesized self-assembled DNA complexes that sense two environmental signals and produce a fluorescent outputs corresponding to the operation of all six Boolean logic gates AND, NAND, OR, NOR, XOR, and XNOR. This study could help improvements in the fields of molecular computation and intelligent drug delivery.
Designing systems that build themselves is one of the great dreams of nanotechnology researchers, and they are taking great strides towards developing such 'bottom-up' nanotechnology fabrication techniques. Fabrication processes based on DNA might change this: DNA origami have been heralded as a potential breakthrough for the creation of nanoscale devices. Researchers have now developed methods to assemble DNA-functionalized microparticles into a colloidal gel, and to extrude this gel with a 3D printer at centimeter size scales.
There is a significant need for new therapeutic approaches to combat diseases such as cancer and viral infections. Using RNA as a therapeutic modality brings to bear an entirely new approach, which not only allows for the construction of uniform scaffolds for attachment of functional entities, but also permits the use of all the different types of functionalities that are inherent in natural RNAs. New research demonstrates that multifunctional RNA nanoparticles with a nanoring design allow the use of different types of functionalities inherent in natural RNAs.
Gene transcription is tightly regulated by proteins called transcription factors. These transcription factor (TF) proteins are master regulators of transcriptional activity and gene expression. Transcription factors are responsible for transcribing the correct genes and therefore for producing the right quantity of proteins. TF-based gene regulation is a promising approach for many biological applications, however, several limitations hinder the full potential of TFs. To overcome these problems, an international team of researchers has developed an artificial, nanoparticle-based transcription factor, termed NanoScript, which is designed to mimic the structure and function of TFs.
Cytosine (C) modifications such as 5-methylcytosine (mC) and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (hmC) are important epigenetic markers associated with gene expression and tumorigenesis. However, bisulfite conversion, the gold standard methodology for mC mapping, can not distinguish mC and hmC bases. Recent studies have demonstrated hmC detection via peptide recognizing, enzymes, fluorescence and hmC-specific antibodies - nevertheless, a method for directly discriminating C, mC and hmC bases without labeling, modification and amplification is still missing. New results demonstrate that single base of C, mC and hmC can be discriminated at the latch zone of a nanopore.
DNA is constantly being damaged in our cells by radiation and other random sources. One of the major forms of this damage is called depurination, or the selective loss of A and G bases from the double helix structure. In our cells, there is a system in place to fix depurination. It usually is quite successful at repairing the damage, but can sometimes make mistakes that result in mutations. As a result, depurination is directly linked to a host of diseases, including anemia and cancer. In new work, researchers show that DNA depurination can be detected electrically using solid-state nanopores.
Sequencing technologies have made it cheaper and faster to read the sequence of bases on a strand of DNA. A promising technology to take these advances further is nanopore sequencing. Individual strands of DNA are moved through a nanopore gap not much wider than the DNA itself. As the DNA passes through the nanopore, continuous information is gained about the sequence of individual bases - the A, C, G and Ts that make up DNA. Researchers now have developed a nanopore sequencing technique reaching read lengths of several thousand bases.