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A self-propelled DNA robot moves living cells while walking on the cell membranes

A breakthrough approach for cell-based treatments and precision medicine


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Researchers has created a synthetic molecular robot that walks along the outer membrane of biological cells.

The robot, powered by an enzyme’s catalytic activity, traverses across receptors that act as stepping stones on the cell surface.

With each step, the robot activates a signal pathway that regulates cell migration.

Driven by the robot’s movement, the cells can reach speeds of 24 μm/hour.

DNA robot offers, for the first time, an opportunity to accurately and predictably control the nanoscale operations that power a live cell.

Researchers who made the robot hope that it could improve cell-based precision medicine.

Similar molecular machines that guide cell behaviours could play a role in cell-based therapies and regenerative medicine.

Study led by Zhou Nie from Hunan University, published in Angewandte Chemie.

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Angewandte Chemie

Angewandte Chemie is one of the prime chemistry journals in the world.

Hunan University

Public research university in China

Zhou Nie

Professor at College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hunan University

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