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Bioinspired Engineering at Nanoscale: Integration of Synthetic Biology and Bionanotechnology

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For several thousand millions of years nature has been crafting extremely intricate systems at nanoscale. With current technologies our range of action has passed from merely mimicking nature to redesign it. This work presents a novel perspective of the convergence of two young and promising fields: bionanotechnology (bionano) and synthetic biology (synbio). We explore the major advances made by the fusion of these fields in several areas including amino and nucleic acid based nanostructures. In this regard, we briefly discuss their application in gene regulation mechanisms (such as engineered riboswitches), self-assembly structures (taking advantage of bacterial S-layer, viral proteins and DNA origami), biological nanopores (whose properties can used as sen- sors, nucleic acid sequencers, nutrient intake and secretion devices, etc.) and molecular motors (allowing translocation of materials or movement of the entire system). Furthermore, the design of novel synthetic biopolymers (RNA, DNA and proteins), minimal cell approaches and cell-free systems technologies are also discussed under the perception of synbio/bionano. This led to the possibility of designing advanced engineered systems (micro/nano-biomachines) with desired fea- tures, which opens up a new dimension of opportunities. Nevertheless, as we foresee the potential applications of this technology we also should be aware of ethical problems that may arise.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • Bionanoscience attempts to harness various functions of biological macromolecules and integrate them with engineering for technological applications. It is based on a bottom-up approach and encompasses structural biology, biomacromolecular engineering, material science, and engineering, extending the horizon of material science. The journal aims at publication of (i) Letters (ii) Reviews (3) Concepts (4) Rapid communications (5) Research papers (6) Book reviews (7) Conference announcements in the interface between chemistry, physics, biology, material science, and technology. The use of biological macromolecules as sensors, biomaterials, information storage devices, biomolecular arrays, molecular machines is significantly increasing. The traditional disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology are overlapping and coalescing with nanoscale science and technology. Currently research in this area is scattered in different journals and this journal seeks to bring them under a single umbrella to ensure highest quality peer-reviewed research for rapid dissemination in areas that are in the forefront of science and technology which is witnessing phenomenal and accelerated growth.
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