Research press release


Nature Communications

Biotechnology: Using DNA origami to solve mathematical problems



今回、Kurt Vesterager Gothelfたちは、DNAの「参照用テーブル」を設計した。入力値をコードする2つのDNAが入力されると、解候補のライブラリを参照して解が見つけ出されるのだ。また、Gothelfたちが設計した一本鎖DNAオリゴヌクレオチドのセットは、互いに結合して、「2かける2」のような「問題」を生成し、「解」がコードされたDNA鎖と正確に結合して、数字の「4」を意味するDNA鎖の解のセットを生成できる。そして、このDNA構造が、解情報を読み取り表示装置に送る特製マイクロアレイと結合することで、解が数字で表示されるようになっている。


A DNA-based calculator that takes two inputs - encoded in DNA strands - and returns the result of their multiplication, showing this as a number on a display, is described in Nature Communications this week. Biological systems generate a huge amount of information that requires a flexible method of analysis. Using DNA to take input values and rapidly deliver a usable answer is one way of making sense of this volume of data.

DNA can encode non-genetic information into its nucleotide sequence, allowing multiple calculations to be performed at once through the simultaneous interaction of thousands of DNA molecules. Most currently available DNA-based computing systems work by mimicking electronic computers (through the design of so-called ‘logic gates’ that perform operations).

Kurt Vesterager Gothelf and colleagues design a DNA ‘look up table’ that can take two input values encoded in DNA and find an answer by looking through a library of possible answers. They design sets of single stranded DNA oligonucleotides that can bind together to form a ‘question’ - such as ‘2 x 2’ - and correctly bind to an ‘answer’ strand of DNA, creating a four stranded DNA origami structure. The answer can be read because the DNA structure binds to a specifically-designed microarray that transmits the information to a visual readout.

Although this calculator does not yet have a practical application, the authors suggest it could be used to aid biosensing and synthetic biology-based regulatory systems. With further development, it may eventually be used as a diagnostic device, which would take disease-specific nucleic acids as inputs and retrieve an answer coded in DNA from a pool of possibilities.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms10089

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