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A DNA Nanodevice That Loads and Releases a Cargo with Hemoglobin-Like Allosteric Control and Cooperativity

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journal contribution
posted on 07.04.2017 by Davide Mariottini, Andrea Idili, Alexis Vallée-Bélisle, Kevin W. Plaxco, Francesco Ricci
Here we report the rational design of a synthetic molecular nanodevice that is directly inspired from hemoglobin, a highly evolved protein whose oxygen-carrying activity is finely regulated by a sophisticated network of control mechanisms. Inspired by the impressive performance of hemoglobin we have designed and engineered in vitro a synthetic DNA-based nanodevice containing up to four interacting binding sites that, like hemoglobin, can load and release a cargo over narrow concentration ranges, and whose affinity can be finely controlled via both allosteric effectors and environmental cues like pH and temperature. As the first example of a synthetic DNA nanodevice that undergoes a complex network of nature-inspired control mechanisms, this represents an important step toward the use of similar nanodevices for diagnostic and drug-delivery applications.