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Nanobiotechnology is a discipline in which tools from nanotechnology are developed and applied to study biological phenomena. For example, nanoparticles can serve as probes, sensors or vehicles for biomolecule delivery in cellular systems.
Extracellular vesicles (EV)-associated RNAs are serum biomarkers potentially exploitable for early cancer diagnosis. Here the authors develop a catalyzed hairpin DNA circuit within a cationic lipid-polymer hybrid nanoparticle that can detect low–level EV-associated RNAs in early stage cancer patients.
Biocatalysis, if selective, offers great potential for the well-controlled release of drugs and other payloads. Here, Minko and co-workers separate enzymes and substrates by loading them onto individual, polymer-coated nanoparticles, and show that a magnetic field switches on the catalytic activity by merging the polymer shells.
Earthquakes frequently occur in the brittle-ductile transition near the base of the seismogenic zone. Using shear experiments on calcite faults, here the authors show that microscale cavitation plays a role in controlling the brittle-ductile transition, and in nucleating earthquakes at the base of the seismogenic zone.
Physical mapping of DNA can be used to detect structural variants and for whole-genome haplotype assembly. Here, the authors use CRISPR-Cas9 and high-speed atomic force microscopy to ‘nanomap’ single molecules of DNA.