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2018 - A synthetic enzyme built from DNA flips 10e7 lipids per second in biological membranes

icon vpp   Vesicle Prep Pro publication in the Nature Communications (2018)

Ohmann A, Li C-Y, Maffeo C, Al Nahas K, Baumann K.N, Göpfrich K, Yoo J, Keyser U.F, & Aksimentiev A.

Nature Communications (2018) 9: Article Number: 2426


Mimicking enzyme function and increasing performance of naturally evolved proteins is one of the most challenging and intriguing aims of nanoscience. Here, we employ DNA nanotechnology to design a synthetic enzyme that substantially outperforms its biological archetypes. Consisting of only eight strands, our DNA nanostructure spontaneously inserts into biological membranes by forming a toroidal pore that connects the membrane’s inner and outer leaflets. The membrane insertion catalyzes spontaneous transport of lipid molecules between the bilayer leaflets, rapidly equilibrating the lipid composition. Through a combination of microscopic simulations and fluorescence microscopy we find the lipid transport rate catalyzed by the DNA nanostructure exceeds 107 molecules per second, which is three orders of magnitude higher than the rate of lipid transport catalyzed by biological enzymes. Furthermore, we show that our DNA-based enzyme can control the composition of human cell membranes, which opens new avenues for applications of membrane-interacting DNA systems in medicine.

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