By Ayse Dogru
ANKARA (AA) - Chemists from the Universite de Montreal in Canada created a nano-scale antenna that uses synthetic DNA to track real-time structural changes in proteins.
Though thousands of times thinner than a strand of human hair, the DNA antenna can both receive and transmit radio waves, the scientific journal Nature Methods reported this week.
It receives one color of light and, depending on the interaction with the protein it detects, transmits a different color of light back, which may then be detected.
Using short, synthetic interlocking strands of DNA, the DNA-based fluorescent nanoantenna can serve to characterize the function of proteins.
Its receiver reacts chemically with molecules on the surface of the target proteins. The 5-nanometer antenna then produces a distinct signal when the protein is performing a certain biological function, which can be detected based on the light released by the DNA structure.
Thanks to the nanoantenna, scientists are now able to detect in real-time the function of the enzyme alkaline phosphatase with a variety of biological molecules and drugs.
This enzyme has been implicated in many diseases, including various cancers and intestinal inflammation.
The technology could prove useful in the development of new drugs and nanotechnologies.
*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz