With this technique, known as origami (Japanese, origami) DNA, an investigation of the National Research Council (CSIC) have developed a nanoscale sensor with the ability to detect the activity of a human enzyme Hagt, involved in the repair DNA.

The advance, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, describes how DNA origami has enabled the creation of this sensor 100 nanometers (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter) in size. Through atomic force microscopy, this sensor allows visualizing binding between a marker protein and DNA sensor. This interaction may be proportional to the activity of the enzyme Hagt.

Besides its involvement in DNA repair, according to the article, this enzyme is considered a "major" marker in the diagnosis of cancer and a potential therapeutic target. The researcher at the Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia, CSIC Carmen Fabrega, who led the research, believes that "the sensor is extremely effective and reliable, and that the results can be viewed through an atomic force microscope."

Similarly, the researcher believes that "the work represents a significant advance in the development of DNA as starting material for nanoscale biomedical devices."

María Tintoré, Isaac Gallego, Brendan Manning, Ramón Eritja and Carmen Fábrega. DNA Origami as DNA Repair Nanosensor at the Single-Molecule Level. Angewandte Chemie. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201301293

Picture By KES47 (File:Chromosome zh.svg) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons