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Specifications and Design
of a Self-Assembled Biodevice

Bernd Mayer*

Institute for Theoretical Chemistry
University of Vienna, Austria

This is an abstract for a poster to be presented at the
Fifth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.
There will be a link from here to the full article when it is available on the web.


Molecular self-assembly, mainly entropy driven, is a fundamental process generating higher order, functional ensembles in natural and artificial systems. The key question in this context is the definition of a minimum object complexity which is necessary and sufficient for the emergence of mesoscopic complexes with well defined functionality as needed in molecular nanotechnology [1].

The core element of the proposed self-assembled biodevice is a liposome hosting an enzymatic center and channel forming, natural and artificial polypeptides. The formation of the liposome itself as well as the incorporation of the hydrophobic peptides is a spontaneous process under proper environmental conditions [1], thereby encapsulating an enzymatic core.

The specificity of this device is multiply defined by i) molecular recognition properties of the lipids forming the liposome (e.g. phosphatidyl-nucleosides), by ii) transport properties of the channel proteins (e.g. peptide nanotubes with variable pore size), and finally, by iii) the substrate specificity of the enzymatic reaction itself.

This high diversity in functionality is the basis for an information processing machine at the molecular level, resembled by the flow of substrates into and of products out of the biodevices. The logic values, represented by substrates and products, are transported in parallel in solution (logic value multiplexing) taking defined concentration patterns of substrates and products in the course of processing by space-coupled biodevices [2]. This setup enables a molecular computation on the basis of multiple valued logic as applied in the concept of interconnection free, biomolecular computing [3].

[1] Simulation and Dynamics of Entropy-Driven, Molecular Self-Assembly Processes. B. Mayer, G. Köhler and S. Rasmussen; Phys. Rev. E, 55, 4, 4489, 1997.
[2] A Model for Pattern Formation in Gap-Junction Coupled Cells. C. Th. Klein and B. Mayer; J. Theor. Biol., 186, 107, 1997.
[3] Design of an Interconnection-Free Biomolecular Computing System. T. Aoki, M. Kameyama and T. Higuchi; in Proceedings of the Twenty-First International Symposium on Multiple-Valued Logic, IEEE Comput. Soc. Press, Los Alamitos, USA, 1991.

*Corresponding Address:
Bernd Mayer, Institute for Theoretical Chemistry, University of Vienna, UZAII
Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
phone: +43 1 31336 1578, fax: +43 1 31336 790


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