Inspired by Nature, modern nanotechnology has enabled the bottom-up construction of molecular machines and nanorobots using two different nanoworld Lego-bricks, DNA or peptides. Combining the power of these two nanoworld codes into a single nanostructure may kindle the onset of a next-generation nanotechnology for various chemical and biological applications.
So far, bottom-up construction of peptide-DNA hybrid nanostructures is only slowly emerging. My research group is dedicated to taming DNA and peptide to develop more powerful molecule tools to unveil the molecular mechanisms of long-lasting scientific questions in fundamental research, and to develop innovative molecular machines for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. For example, recently, I initiated an interdisciplinary collaboration with a USA research group to combine the power of bioorganic chemistry and biophysics. The research objective was to explore the interdomain communication between two macromolecular domains composed of DNA and peptides at the single-molecule level. A weak intermolecular interaction was firstly detected between these two macromolecular domains. The results may explain the origin of homochiral coiled-coil domains in natural proteins. The learned knowledge is now advanced in my research group to explore the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease in pursuit of the first effective therapeutic agents. In parallel, a series of novel molecular machines are being designed in my research group to synergize peptides and DNA for developing fast and sensitive detection methods for low-abundance targets in chemical and biological samples.