Scientists Developed a New Polymer Particles using DNA Strands

Scientists Developed a New Polymer Particles using DNA Strands

Researchers from McGill University have imprinted polymer particles chemically with DNA strands that can produce materials having applications in biomedicine and soft robotics.

In a study published in Nature Chemistry on December 20, 2017, researchers explained a method to create asymmetrical polymer particles, which can bind together in a spatially defined manner. Scientists have created non-symmetrical polymer structures. For instance, ‘Janus’ particles with two different ‘faces’ are starting to discover new applications for these materials and soft and flexible structures of robots that can change shape in response to external stimuli.

“This method introduces a programmable level of organization that is currently difficult to attain in polymer chemistry,” says McGill Chemistry, Professor Hanadi Sleiman, senior author of the study. “Chemically copying the information contained in DNA nanostructures offers a powerful solution to the problem of size, shape and directional control for polymeric materials.”

In 2013, a technique was developed by Sleiman’s research group to make nanoscale cages from strands of DNA and stuff them with lipid-like polymer chains that fold together into a ball-shaped particle, which contains cargo such as drug molecules. Sleiman along with her PhD student Tuan Trinh teamed up with colleagues at the University of Vermont and Texas A&M University at Qatar. According to Specialty Polymers Market report published by Coherent Market Insights, these polymers can be used in small quantities to improve the material performance and it has wide applications in biomedicines market. They developed a method to imprint the polymer ball with DNA strands arranged in pre-designed orientations.

The DNA cages are used as a ‘mold’ to build the polymer particle, the particle size and number of molecular units in the polymer can be controlled, says Sleiman, Canada Research Centre. These asymmetrical polymer structures have various applications such as multi-compartment polymer particles, with each compartment encapsulating a different drug that could be delivered using different stimuli at different times.

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