The nucleic acids of DNA encode genetic information, while the amino acids of proteins contain the code to flip that information into structures and functions. Collectively, they provide the two fundamental codes underlying all of life.
Now scientists have discovered a way to integrate these two main coding languages into a single “bilingual” molecule.
The American Chemical Society Journal released the work by chemists at Emory University. The synthesized molecule might become a robust tool for purposes such as diagnostics, gene treatment, and drug delivery focused on specific cells.
Nucleic acids retailer information in an “alphabet” of four bases, known as nucleotides. Peptides and proteins use a completely different alphabet, made up of 20 different amino acids.
Previously synthesized molecules have centered on the properties of either nucleic acids or amino acids. The Emory researchers wanted to harness the powers of both data techniques within a single molecule.
The problem was enormous, drawing on methods from organic chemistry, molecular and mobile biology, materials science, and analytical chemistry. The researchers developed a protein scaffold and then connected functioning fragments of nucleotides and amino acids to this framework.
The Emory chemists are now exploring utilizing the bilingual molecule for focused drug delivery to explicit cells. “It is essentially a stimuli-delicate container,” Heemstra says.