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DNA binding protein allows novel nanoparticle cluster mfg

Posted: 24 Dec 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:KAIST? nanoparticle? NPC? DNA binding protein? zinc finger?

A team of scientists has developed an innovative manufacturing technique for size-controllable magnetic nanoparticle clusters (NPCs) using the zinc finger protein that specifically binds to target DNA sequence. Professor Hak-Sung Kim of the department of biological sciences at KAIST and Yiseul Ryu, a doctoral candidate, said the research findings reveal the potential use of NPCs in biological and medical fields such as MRI contrast media, fluorescence imaging and drug transport.

NPCs are structures consisting of magnetic nanoparticles, gold nanoparticles and quantum dots, each of which are smaller than 100nm. NPCs have a distinctive property of collectivity not seen in single nanoparticles.

Mimetic diagram of NPCs

A mimetic diagram of NPCs manufacturing technique using DNA binding protein zinc finger

Specifically NPCS differ in physical and optical properties such as plasmon coupling absorbance, energy transfers between particles, electron transfers and conductivity. Therefore, NPCs can be used in biological and medical research as well as the development of nanoelectric and nanoplasmon devices.

To make use of these novel properties, the size and the composition of the cluster must be exquisitely controlled. However, previous techniques relied on chemical binding that required complex steps, making it difficult to control the size and composition of NPCs.

Kim's team used zinc finger protein that contains a zinc ion and specifically recognises DNA sequence upon binding, which allows the exquisite control of the size and the cluster composition. The technique is also bio-friendly, added the researchers.

The team created linear structure of different sizes of NPCs using zinc finger proteins and three DNA sequences of different lengths. The NPCs they produced confirmed their ability to control the size and structure of the cluster by using different DNA lengths.

The NPCs also showed tripled T2 relaxation rates compared to the existing MRI contrast media (Feridex) and effectively transported to targeted cells.

TEM images showing different sizes of NPCs

Transmission electron microscopy images showing different sizes of NPCs depending on the length of the DNA

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