The bioengineering approach which we employed has potential to be applied in the clinical field, says study authors Matthias Kster and Wolfgang Koch.

“Nano-Structure-DNA-RNA Engineering,” EPL Proceedings 2015. The first step for the polymer scaffolds to enter the living cell was to create a very small sample of the polymer solution and shape it, as shown in the image above. From this point, a 3D structure is created, based on the image of the nanocompensation matrix. This structure is then brought to the nucleus of the cell and guided to guide the DNA template into the cell membrane. This is accomplished in a 3D liquid membrane with porous pores allowing for a sufficient amount of DNA to pass through into the living cell. The resulting scaffold is formed and controlled as desired to deliver RNA to the DNA template. Once inside the cell, the “nano-structure-dna-RNA” is guided to the correct location (DNA) in the correct cell structure. This is repeated several times by the process. After the DNA template is delivered, the cells need to “feed” on it for the polymer scaffold to stay in place. Once more, the polymer is guided to continue its path in the cell. After enough nano-structure have been incorporated into the DNA template, the cells turn off the stimulation and growth occurs in a matter of seconds. “The bioengineering approach which we employed has potential to be applied in the clinical field,” says study authors Matthias Kster and Wolfgang Koch.

Koch and Kster’s research was lead by Wolfgang Schonfelber of the University of Wrzburg’s Biomaterials Science laboratory. The researchers tested their new polymer/nano-structure-dna-RNA combination on a cell line of pig cells. They showed that these engineered vesicles can enter into a cell in two main ways. The first is by their self-assembly into a vesicle within the cell membrane. When introduced into a cell, the vesicle itself undergoes self-assembly, which involves the incorporation of nanoscale grains and self-assembling. In other words, the DNA template is brought to the vesicle via the RNA that is guiding the vesicle through a liquid membrane to the cell. Interestingly, the vesicles that can get in through the vesicle membrane have the potential to contain significant amounts of DNA because of some pores present. While creating three-dimensional structures in the membrane, nanospheres of the polymer also get inserted. This is because the vesicles themselves are highly porous. “Because the membrane has pores, the vesicles undergo polymer growth,” explained Kster. This means that when the vesicles are introduced into the cell, they grow into structures that have potential to carry huge amounts of the DNA template. So where does this leave the human cells? “There are already very promising designs for DNA nanobots,” said Koch. “It’s clear from the studies that these nanobots will have a strong place in human tissues and organs.” Kster and Koch are currently working on a “functionalized” DNA nanobot that they think could be a possible replacement for current techniques in cancer treatment. There’s also great interest in the use of DNA nanobots for medical applications. They could be useful in cancer research, for example for the repair of genetic errors, cancer diagnostics and testing and more.

(via E-Life magazine)

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