Joined: 03 Oct 2005
|Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 1:30 pm Post subject: Scientists Create Nano Device for Degrading RNA Sequences
|Scientists Combine Carbon Nanotubes with DNA-based Enzymes to Make Nano Device for Degrading RNA Sequences
Combining a DNA-based enzyme with a carbon nanotube, a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, has created a nanoscale device capable of degrading specific sequences of RNA. Such a device could provide a novel approach to cancer therapy by enabling researchers to block a cancer cell’s production of proteins needed to maintain a cancerous state.
Carbon nanotubes, once the province of material scientists and structural engineers, have now captured the attention of cancer researchers because of the ability of these nanoscale structures to cross the cell membrane, ferrying in proteins and other potential imaging and drug molecules. A team headed by Jonathan Dordick, Ph.D., is attempting to use this capability to deliver so-called DNAzymes to cells. DNAzymes are short stretches of single-stranded DNA that break down specific sequences of RNA, which cells use to convert information stored in their chromosomes into the myriad proteins they need to thrive. Numerous experiments have shown that breaking down a specific RNA, and thus turning off production of the corresponding protein, can have a therapeutically beneficial result.
Writing in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the investigators describe a five-step process for attaching DNAzymes to the surface of a carbon nanotube. The resulting DNAzyme-nanotube hybrid retains all of the enzymatic activity of the DNAzyme without the use of any special reaction conditions, that is, the hybrid would have a good chance of degrading RNA under the conditions found within a cell. The researchers note that this hybrid may also be able to simultaneously transport other molecules into cells by packing this secondary payload into the hollow core of the nanotubes.
This work is detailed in a paper titled, “Highly Active and Stable DNAzyme-Carbon Nanotube Hybrids.” An abstract of this paper is available at the journal’s website.
Source: NCI Alliance for Cancer in Nanotechnology.