Aarhus University Seal

Nanovault controls enzymes

Researchers from Aarhus University have now succeeded in building a nanovault of DNA strings that can control enzymes. The nanovault functions as a safe in which an enzyme can be stored away and where only a specific set of keys can shut down the enzyme again. Aarhus University has also become the headquarters of a European PhD school that will develop the next generation of nanovaults for use in biotechnology and medicine.

A 3D model of the new DNA origami nanodevice - named "DNA Vault" - that can enclose an enzyme and regulate its catalytic activity. Graphics: Guido Grossi

In the research paper recently published in Nature Communications, Guido Grossi et al. describe the design, construction and characterization of a DNA origami nanodevice - named "DNA Vault" - that can enclose an enzyme and regulate its catalytic activity. 

When the structure is closed, the encapsulated enzyme is hindered from interacting with substrate molecules in solution. However, when a specific DNA signal is detected, the vault opens, allowing the enzyme to recognize its substrate, and thus triggering the catalytic reaction.

The DNA Vault introduces a general approach to control enzyme-substrate interactions by inducing conformational changes in a rationally designed nanodevice, and it may be used in the future to develop advanced applications in nano-medicine, biotechnology and synthetic biology.

To read the whole article (doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01072-8) go to Nature Communications.

You can also read about the research performed in the Andersen Lab for Biomolecular Nanodesign at andersen-lab.dk.  

For further information, please contact

Associate professor Ebbe Sloth Andersen
iNANO/Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
esa@inano.au.dk - +45 4117 8619

PhD student Guido Grossi
ggrossi@inano.au.dk - 8715 6747

Professor Kurt Vesterager Gothelf
iNANO/Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University
kvg@chem.au.dk - +45 6020 2725