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Actin-based metallic nanowires as bio-nanotransporters


The synthesis of conductive nanowires or patterned conductive nanoelements is a challenging goal for the future fabrication of nanoscale circuitry1. Similarly, the realization of nanoscale mechanics might introduce a new facet to the area of nanobiotechnology. Here we report on the design of conductive and patterned actin-based gold nanowires, and on the ATP-driven motility of the nano-objects. The polymerization of G-actin labelled with Au nanoparticles, followed by the catalytic enlargement of the nanoparticles, yields gold wires (1–4 μm long and 80–200 nm high) exhibiting high electrical conductivity. The polymerization of the Au nanoparticle/G-actin monomer followed by the polymerization of free G-actin, or alternatively the polymerization of the Au-nanoparticle-labelled G-actin on polymerized F-actin followed by the catalytic enlargement of the particles, yields patterned actin–Au wire–actin or Au wire–actin–Au wire nanostructures, respectively. We demonstrate the ATP-fuelled motility of the actin–Au wire–actin filaments on a myosin interface. These actin-based metallic wires and their nanotransporting funcionality introduce new concepts for developing biological/inorganic hybrid devices.

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Figure 1: The assembly of actin-based Au nanowires.
Figure 2: Synthesis and structure of patterned actin-based Au nanowires.
Figure 3: Electrical conductivity of an actin-based Au nanowire.
Figure 4: ATP-fuelled motility of the actin–Au nanoblock–actin filaments on a myosin interface.


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We thank J. F. Hainfeld, Biology Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA, for providing us with the STEM image of the Au-nanoparticle-modified G-actin. This research is supported by the German–Israeli Foundation (GIF).

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Correspondence to Itamar Willner.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Patolsky, F., Weizmann, Y. & Willner, I. Actin-based metallic nanowires as bio-nanotransporters. Nature Mater 3, 692–695 (2004).

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