Almost every aspect of higher organism biology such as metabolism, growth and immunity, is regulated by intricate communication networks between multiple cell types. The ability to skew or interfere with these networks could lead to new ways to alleviate diseases caused or maintained by the interacting cells. However, since these cells are often dispersed across the entire organism, precise modulation of a single communication line is very challenging. In this project I propose to achieve this goal by DNA origami nanorobots programmed as routing devices for cell-cell communication. Each nanorobot is programmed to collect and sequester a specific type of signal molecule (cytokine, hormone etc.), and deliver it exclusively to a specific type of cell. Once programmed, a large group of nanorobots (~1016) effectively controls the traffic of signal molecules within an entire network, rendering it susceptible to arbitrary manipulations. These include re-routing signals to different cell addresses, up- or down-tuning the traffic volume in the path, or preventing a specific cell type from transmitting and receiving signals. This technology presents an advanced working draft towards automated biology as a strategy to solve challenges such as food, sustainable energy, emerging diseases etc.
Fields of science
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