Around the world, scientists are working on major issues related to DNA, namely, the encapsulation of specific nucleotide sequences in shells of other substances. This shell would make it possible to segregate deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from the external environment, protect it, and control its release under certain conditions.

The researchers of the Infochemistry Research Center were the first in the world to develop a method for encapsulating DNA into supramolecular assemblies that form complex structures based on hydrogen bonds. Such assemblies can be used to create artificial cells. For this, the laboratory develops a system capable of reproducing the behavior of a living cell and its communication with other cells through the release of signaling molecules, division, movement, etc.

The gif illustrates the “birth” of such assemblies launched by the use of melamine, cyanuric acid, and a short nucleotide sequence labeled with a fluorescent component to prove that DNA is part of the resulting particles. The next step was to place these components into three gel particles.

These particles trigger diffusion resulting in the creation of the depicted structures. The images were obtained using fluorescence microscopy. The following is a photograph acquired using scanning electron microscopy.

Photo courtesy of Konstantin Katsuba and Tatiana Kurakina
Photo courtesy of Konstantin Katsuba and Tatiana Kurakina

ITMO scientists have studied how different concentrations of magnesium ions affect the shape of particles, their size, the dynamics of formation, and DNA distribution. A separate study will be necessary to develop a practical application of the resulting system. However, these systems are already proved to be beneficial for diagnostics and therapy.

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