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Nucleic Acid Based Nanostructures (NUCAN) - Publishable Executive Summary

Project ID: 13775
Funded under: FP6-NMP


The central objective of the NUCAN project is to develop the technology for the handling and construction of nanometre sized basic building blocks and of nucleic acid based nanostructures (Nabnanos) built from these as a basis technology for the production of nanostructures for various applications.
Getting smaller is a goal in technological areas as different as electronics and pharmaceutics, in order to increase computing power or faster drug screening systems, respectively.
Therefore nanotechnology is recognized as an upcoming technology in a multitude of fields. The bio-molecular approach is of special interest because of the biotechnological promise of cheap production facilities using bioreactors and because of the highly evolved capabilities of bio-molecules. Moreover, optimization strategies are inherent to nucleic acids and may be transferred to artificial systems, as has been demonstrated for aptamers and ribozymes in recent years. This overall aim will be reached by the following steps:
1. construct basic building blocks from DNA, PNA (peptide nucleic acid), proteins, nanotubes and metallic nanoparticles
2. find rules, how to find and construct basic building blocks
3. form nucleic acid based nanostructures (Nabnanos) by directed self-assembly of the basic building blocks
4. guide the development by well defined applications
5. show the usefulness of Nabnanos in the context of three different areas of research and development, namely in: Nano- and bio-electronics (sub-micro- and molecular electronics) Bioanalytics (e.g. surface bound ligands for single molecules and single cells) Pharmascreening (drug target screening)

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