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The specific properties of the DNA and its ability to specifically interact with various proteins justifies the usefulness of DNA as a building material at the nano-scale which has direct practical applications in nanotechnology
DNA is being used as a nano-wire with specific recognition information embedded
One of the great advantages of the DNA-based wires is the ability of the DNA to serve also as a carrier of address data that can help to direct the DNA strand into specific locations which is a key step for the achievement of self-assembled electronic circuits
Amyloid fibrils, are very interesting due to their small diameter (7-10 nm) and remarkable physical and chemical stability. Amyloid fibrils are readily formed from quite simple building blocks.
The ability of amyloid fibrils to serve as a template for the fabrication of nano-materials was demonstrated with yeast prion proteins.
The use of amyloid fibrils as a template for the fabrication of metal wires have a very practical prospect as very short peptide can form fibrils that are very similar to those formed by the full length proteins and polypeptides
Actin filaments are self-assembled fibrils of 7nm and have very uniform organization.
One of the advantages of the actin filaments is the ability to control their polymerization and depolymerization by the presence of ATP nucleotides.
As the crystal structure of the actin monomers is known, new functionalities could be rationally engineered and introduced into the fibrilar system. Thus these fibrils also serve as a very attractive platform for nano-scale engineering
Aromatic Peptides are hollow with an inner diameter of few tens of nanometers.
Formation of silver nanowires is possible with peptide nanotubes templates.
Ionic silver is reduced to metallic silver within the tube lumen. The peptide envelope is then removed by the use of enzymatic degradation.
Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria.
The great advantage of the phage particles is their ability to express specific proteins on their surface in multiple copies.
Short peptides with affinity for various metals and semiconductors were displayed as coat proteins of the phage and were used for the fabrication of more complex assemblies with nano scale order.
The physical strength of skeletal tissues, bones, and teeth is based on the organization of inorganic materials.
The most notable mineral is of course calcium in its different forms.
The ability to form complex inorganic structures such as artificial bones and teeth using biological templates that will direct inorganic organization may change the face of modern medicine.
One example of such an approach is the use of a peptide fragment of silaffin1, internal-repeats protein that mediates silica organization.
The peptide fragment, which comprises the amino acid sequence of one repeat unit, can direct and affect the morphology of silica organization.
Viruses serve as a compelling example of biological nanotechnology
Upon an encounter with the E. coli host, the virus attaches to a receptor (protein) embedded in the bacterial membrane and ejects its DNA into the host cell, leaving an empty capsid as refuse from the process.
ENZYMES AND NUCLEIC ACIDS
Enzymes and Nucleic Acids are used in diagnostic aspect of biotechnology.
Diagnostic immunoassays include products such as:
home pregnancy test kits that contain antibodies that detect minute traces of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone
diagnostic kits for hepatitis virus infections
A more futuristic instrument includes a nano-device that measures the glucose levels using electrochemical reaction and nano electrodes on a chip that are connected to a controlled delivery system that releases insulin according to a programmed profile. Such a nano-device will be able to mimic some of the functions of the pancreas for acute Type I and chronic Type II diabetes patients.