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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Scientists use DNA to create luminescent nanoantennas for observing proteins up close

Scientists use DNA to create luminescent nanoantennas for observing proteins up close

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:25

Examining the tiny world of proteins is a very tricky task, but researchers from the University of Montreal have developed a new tool that allows scientists to observe diseases and drug development up close. The team used DNA to create nanoantennas that emit fluorescence based on different protein functions.

The nanoantenna developed by the team is synthesized from short DNA fragments, with fluorescent dyes attached to certain parts. Dyes act as the "receiver" part of tiny antennas, sensing the molecular surfaces and interactions of specific proteins, and then transmitting this information to observing scientists.

The senior author of this study, Alexis Vall é e-B é lisle, stated, "Just like a bidirectional radio that can both receive and emit radio waves, a fluorescent nanoantenna receives light of one color or wavelength and can emit it back in another color that we can detect based on the protein movement it senses."

By adjusting the length and structure of DNA fragments and attaching different dyes to different locations, researchers can create nanoantennas that emit different signals when certain protein functions occur. This allows scientists to monitor the movement, action, and temporal changes of proteins, which are often difficult to observe directly.

"For example, we can detect the function of alkaline phosphatase with various biomolecules and drugs in real-time and for the first time," said Scott Harroun, the first author of the study. "This enzyme is associated with many diseases, including various cancers and intestinal inflammation."

The team claims that the new nanoantenna can be used to study biology up close, including how protein malfunctions lead to diseases and potentially open up new avenues for drug development. Importantly, the DNA assembly of the antenna is easy to achieve and highly programmable, targeting a range of proteins, and the signal can be viewed through ordinary fluorescence spectroscopy.