USING ENZYMES TO BUILD, BREAK AND READ HYBRID DNA NANOMATERIALS: From nanoscale self-assembly to intracellular gene regulation
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 3:30pm to 4:20pm
Building 6, Chipman Room, 6-104
182 MEMORIAL DR (REAR), Cambridge, MA 02139
The Materials Science and Engineering Seminar Series presents Prof. Jessica Rouge from the University of Connecticut, who will present her talk "USING ENZYMES TO BUILD, BREAK AND READ HYBRID DNA NANOMATERIALS: From nanoscale self-assembly to intracellular gene regulation".
Biology has evolved the quintessential nanoscale assembly of nucleic acids, lipids and proteins in the form of a virus. Viruses are built from self-assembled peptide subunits surrounding charged nucleic acids, packaged within a lipid-like envelope. Viral coat proteins are enzymatically degraded, in a location-specific manner, releasing contents into the surrounding environment. Our lab seeks to mimic not only the assembly, but the programmed disassembly, of biomolecule-based nanomaterials through a combination of chemical crosslinking strategies and enzymatic assembly steps. Using a hybrid DNA surfactant and a peptide-based self-assembly method, we have built a series of crosslinked micelle systems that break down in response to the presence of various stimuli, including pH and enzymes. The nanocapsule displays highly specific responses in the presence of closely related proteases and can be modified with inorganic nanoparticles for monitoring its stability using electron microscopy. Integrating natural biochemical queues into the assembly and degradation pathways of nanomaterials brings us one step closer to designing precision biomaterials, paving the road for greater accuracy in applications ranging from gene delivery to biosensing.