Björn Högberg Group


Björn Högberg

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 870 36
Organizational unit: Björn Högberg's group

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Research Focus

Our lab is studying receptor signaling and drug delivery using novel tools based on DNA nanotechnology.

DNA nanotechnology, and more specifically DNA-origami, is a technique that allows us to rationally design nanoscale shapes with unprecedented resolution. In the resulting assemblies, we know the exact location of every DNA oligonucleotide. These oligos can be chemically conjugated to proteins, thus creating molecularly precise patterns and structures of proteins.

The spatial organization of membrane-bound ligands and receptors constitutes a critical physical cue in receptor-mediated signaling. However, direct regulation of recep­tor activation by nanoscale distribution of ligands has not been demonstrated previously. In recent research, our group has been focusing on DNA nanostructures decorated with ligands involved in cell–cell signaling and then using these rationally designed protein patterns to decipher and study membrane bound receptor-ligand signaling systems.

In addition, our group is also developing synthetic biology methods for protein evolution and enzymatic production of very high quality single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides using gene synthesis and single-stranded DNA bacteriophages. We are further actively pursuing basic technology development of DNA origami and related DNA nanostructure techniques. Our lab has demonstrated a new type of three dimensional polygonal DNA origami that are stable under physiological salt conditions.

Selected Publications

DNA rendering of polyhedral meshes at the nanoscale.
Benson E, Mohammed A, Gardell J, Masich S, Czeizler E, Orponen P, et al
Nature 2015 Jul;523(7561):441-4

Spatial control of membrane receptor function using ligand nanocalipers.
Shaw A, Lundin V, Petrova E, Fördős F, Benson E, Al-Amin A, et al
Nat. Methods 2014 Aug;11(8):841-6

Rolling circle replication requires single-stranded DNA binding protein to avoid termination and production of double-stranded DNA.
Ducani C, Bernardinelli G, Högberg B
Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 ;42(16):10596-604

Enzymatic production of 'monoclonal stoichiometric' single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides.
Ducani C, Kaul C, Moche M, Shih W, Högberg B
Nat. Methods 2013 Jul;10(7):647-52

DNA origami delivery system for cancer therapy with tunable release properties.
Zhao Y, Shaw A, Zeng X, Benson E, Nyström A, Högberg B
ACS Nano 2012 Oct;6(10):8684-91

Self-assembly of three-dimensional prestressed tensegrity structures from DNA.
Liedl T, Högberg B, Tytell J, Ingber D, Shih W
Nat Nanotechnol 2010 Jul;5(7):520-4

Group Members

Giulio BernardinelliPhD student, Graduate Student
Cosimo DucaniResearch assistant
Ferenc FördösPhD student, Graduate Student
Ian HoffeckerPostdoc
Björn HögbergDocent
Orsolya KaracsonyPostdoc
Marco LolaicoGraduate Student
Anurupa NagchowdhuryResearch assistant
Iris Rocamonde LagoResearch assistant
Ioanna SmyrlakiPhD student, Graduate Student
Yang WangGraduate Student
Yunshi YangPhD student, Graduate Student

DNA origami a future cancer treatment?

Folded nanoscale DNA structures, known as “DNA origami”, are the tools enabling Wallenberg Academy Fellow Björn Högberg, Karolinska Institutet, to understand how cells communicate. In future, the technique may make an important contribution to the development of “nanorobots” to treat cancer and other diseases more effectively.