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Understanding and Designing Novel NanoPores

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - DesignerPores (Understanding and Designing Novel NanoPores)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

Nanopores are essential for the transport of molecules into and out of our cells. We are trying to learn how nature builds and uses nanopores by creating our won designer nanopores. A two-pronged approach is used. In one half of the project, we are building larger versions of these nanopores – still more 100 times thinner than a human hair – to understand the design principles. With the identified design rules we build nanopores from DNA to mimic functions and possibly outperform natural nanopores.
We built a new experimental setup that allows for measuring the transport through our artificial systems automatically. With this enhanced technology we sped up the data taking process by a factor of 10 which enables to take better data and more robust insights. The details of the setup will be published in a series of papers towards the end of this year. On the nanoscale, we invented a new way to detect proteins with nanopores (published in Nature Nanotechnolgy, DOI: 10.1038/NNANO.2016.50). We also built the largest (ACS nano DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b03759) and smallest (Nano Letters DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b02039) DNA ion channels to date. We also discovered a cooperative effect that speeds up transport in the sub-micron channels that are currently under preparation for submission.
We demonstrated the largest and smallest DNA nanopores and clarified the ion pathway through the lipid membrane. This is a major step to understand and establish design rules for DNA nanopores. With the DNA based protein detection we are currently finalising an agreement with a start up company to exploit the results. Our highly controlled measurement system will allow for testing established theories and we have now new collaborations with several theory groups world-wide who want to work with us.