Professor Wong of the Wyss Institute at Harvard and his team recently published a new study in Nature Methods about using DNA nanostructures to display molecular interactions. Traditionally, bio-molecular interactions are measured through the use of equipment that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, Wong and his group have now developed a method of using gel electrophoresis to determine bio-molecular interactions. Not only has gel electrophoresis been well developed as a technique, but it is also very cheap.
The new part of this technology is attaching molecules of interest onto nanoswitches made of strands of DNA. Interactions between the molecule of interest and another molecule, such as a drug binding to a target receptor, can cause the DNA to change shape from linear to a closed loop. Then, by using gel electrophoresis, researchers can separate and determine the ratio of linear DNA nanoswitches to closed ones. This opening and closing of the loop is essentially measuring the association and dissociation rates of the molecular interactions.
This approach opens doors for scientists all over the world to study, test, and develop new drugs and other biomolecules easily. Wong and his team have created starter-kits to offer to research labs around the world that are interested in using this technology.
From the Wyss Institute press statement:
“Wesley and his team are committed to making an impact on the way bio–molecular research is done at a fundamental level, as is evidenced by their efforts to make this technology accessible to labs everywhere,” said Wyss Institute Founding Director Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., who is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and a Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard SEAS. “Biomedical researchers all over the world can start using this new method right away to investigate how biological compounds interact with their targets, using commonly–available supplies at very low cost.”
Wyss Institute: DNA Nanoswitches Reveal How Life’s Molecules Connect…
Study in Nature Methods: DNA Nanoswitches: A Quantitative Platform for Gel-Based Biomolecular Interaction Analysis…