Synthetic DNA channel transporting cargo across membranes

  • Michael Northrop
  • Digital Images
  • Online

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Synthetic DNA channel transporting cargo across membranes. Michael Northrop. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

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Artist's interpretation of designer DNA channels which selectively transport cargo through a biological membrane. In this 3D model, cargo (e.g. medication or drugs) is shown as coloured spheres, while the mirrored coils represent six DNA double helices which form the channel through which the cargo passes. Inside a cell, these channels are made from membrane proteins that act as gatekeepers to control molecule transport across cell membranes. Researchers are using DNA as a building material to make synthetic channels that mimic these membrane proteins. These DNA nanostructures are much easier to manipulate and are being engineered for use in vaccines, biofuels, biosensors and as research tools. Width of image represents less than 1.3 nanometres.


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