DNA origami nanostructures for vaccine development and transporting drugs inside the body
Jul. 18, 2023.
1 min. read Interactions
Five European and Australian universities invent a way to program "good" virus particles.
Bioengineers at a team of five universities have invented a way to program the size and shape of “good” virus particles. The method combines viral protein-building blocks and templates made from DNA. The resulting nanostructures could have new applications in vaccine development and transporting drugs inside the body, the researchers suggest.
Virus nanostructure shapes and geometry depend largely on the specific virus strain. The scientists used capsid proteins—the proteins that shield the genome of a virus—to build precisely structured protein assemblies.
“By using DNA origami as a template, we can direct the capsid proteins into a user-defined size and shape, resulting in assemblies which are well-defined, both in length and diameter, said Iris Seitz, lead author and doctoral researcher at Aalto University. “By testing a variety of DNA origami structures, we also learned how the templates’ geometry affected the whole assembly.”
“With the help of cryogenic electron microscopy imaging, we were able to visualize the highly ordered proteins upon assembly and, with that, measure even small changes in the geometry of the assembly arising from different templates,” explained professor Juha Huiskonen, a collaborating scientist from the University of Helsinki.
This work was conducted jointly at Aalto University (Finland) and with researchers from the University of Helsinki (Finland), Griffith University (Australia), Tampere University (Finland) and University of Twente (The Netherlands).
Citation: Seitz, I., Saarinen, S., Kumpula, E., McNeale, D., Lampinen, V., Hytönen, V. P., Sainsbury, F., Cornelissen, J. J., Linko, V., Huiskonen, J. T., & Kostiainen, M. A. (2023). DNA-origami-directed virus capsid polymorphism. Nature Nanotechnology, 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-023-01443-x (open-access via PDF)