Monday, April 3, 2017

DNA Origami: Using protein “staples” to create a new building block

A new method of DNA nanostructural engineering has been proposed recently. The process involves the use of transcription activator-like (TAL) effector proteins to act as staples that bind to desired areas of double-stranded DNA and create loops of user-chosen designs.  This DNA origami can be used as a nanostructure to place other attached proteins into a desired spatial arrangement that could serve some other purpose.  This is basically a method of using DNA strands as nano-scale scaffolding to arrange other desired elements into a specific shape.  Until now, only single strand DNA has been folded using oligonucleotides at non-physiological temperatures. Although this new process was only accomplished outside of living cells, the idea creates new potential for using DNA origami to create desired 3D structures out of proteins and DNA available in a living cell system. 

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