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.
The group is also participating in the European Innovation Council’s Pathfinder Challenge for DNA-based digital data storage with the DuraStore project, which focuses on the utilization of bio-inspired solutions to improve existing DNA data storage technologies in terms of data stability and dynamic data operability in vitro and in vivo. For more information see The DuraStore project