Rigid addressable nanoscaffolds & single-stranded DNA origami

Liveblogging the Foresight Conference: Apologies for not blogging yesterday’s afternoon session, including the “Controversies in Nanotechnology” talk (by me), the IP talk by Stanford prof Mark Lemley, the IP panel (I was moderating), and the Public Equity panel — featuring the colorful Michael Weiner of Biophan, who advised against taking investment funds from VCs. This morning we had a tutorial on molecular nanotechnology by David Forrest, “Nanomechanical Devices and Systems” by Alex Zettl, and “Electromechanical Nanodevices” by ZL Wang. Now we have William Shih (“shee”) from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard medical on “Clonable DNA Nanotechnology” who is explaining how to make rigid, addressable DNA nanoscaffolds. He has constructed a 1.7 kilobase single-stranded DNA regular octahedron about 20 nm in diameter. First step was generating the cartoon (i.e., the desired folding sequence schematic), then finding a sequence that would fold properly (required using a computer program). Now he is describing how to clone the DNA octahedron (see his website for details). He has an image map of the octahedron at 32 angstrom resolution. Ned Seeman’s group at NYU is now doing scaffolded DNA origami. One can make six-helix bundles to make DNA nanotubes. Shih is interested in exploring the octahedra and other regular 3D geometric structures as encapsulating structures for, e.g., drug delivery. (As always, apologies in advance for any errors in the above, which are almost certainly mine rather than the speakers’.—Christine)

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