Hendrik Dietz is a full professor of physics at the School of Natural Sciences of Technical University of Munich. Dietz research interests are on building ultra-miniaturized molecular devices and machines capable of accomplishing user-defined tasks. In this context, Dietz has made important contributions regarding the complexity, functionality, and industrial applicability of DNA origami objects. In the talk Dietz will discuss recent developments, including a DNA origami rotary ratchet motor capable of doing mechanical work (Pumm et al, Nature 2022) and a programmable icosahedral shell system that can be used to neutralize viruses (Sigl et al, Nature Materials 2021).
Our mission is to learn how to build molecular devices and machines that can execute user-defined tasks. To this end, we investigate how to adapt the physical principles underlying the formation of natural macromolecular assemblies such as viruses or molecular motors for our purposes. Programmable molecular self-assembly with DNA origami is an attractive route toward implementing these principles to create synthetic molecular machinery. We combine computational design and cryo electron microscopy to learn how to construct synthetic molecular objects with increasing accuracy and increasing complexity.
For example, we have learned from viruses how to program DNA blocks to self-assemble into icosahedral shells with specific geometry and apertures, which led to an interesting application: the virus trap, which we hope to turn into a programmable antiviral drug to neutralize viruses. We have also learned how to design DNA origami so that genetic instructions included within them can be read by mammalian cells.
We have recently learned how to control the movement of nanoscale assemblies. For example, we have built autonomous, power-generating rotary DNA motors driven by AC fields and also turbines that can be driven by ion flux across membranes. With these new machines, opportunities are created to accomplish user-defined, energy-consuming tasks in various contexts.
A.K. Pumm. W. Engelen, E. Kopperger, J. Isensee, M. Vogt, V. Kozina, M. Kube, M.N. Honemann, E. Bertosin, M. Langecker, R. Golestanian°, F.C. Simmel°, and H. Dietz, ‘A DNA origami rotary ratchet motor’, Nature (2022), doi 10.1038/s41586-022-04910-y
C. Sigl, E.M. Willner, W. Engelen, J. Kretzmann, K. Sachenbacher, A. Liedl, F. Kolbe, F. Wilsch, S. Ali Aghvami, U. Protzer, M.F. Hagan, S. Fraden, and H. Dietz, ‘Programmable icosahedral shell system for virus trapping’, Nature Materials (2021), doi 10.1038/s41563-021-01020-4