Biosensing & DNA-sequencing with designed membrane nanopores

Stefan Howorka, University College London Part of Physical Seminar Series

Abstract Portable DNA sequencing and biosensing can advance research, bedside-diagnostics, and homeland security. In my talk, I will describe how label-free sensing is achieved with atom-scale designed membrane nanopores. In this strategy, nanopores act as electronic sensors that detect when individual molecules pass the pores’ nanoscale hole. The temporary blockages cause detectable changes in ionic pore current. The approach has helped pioneer portable sequencing with protein pores(1) that discriminate individual bases within individual translocating DNA strands. More recently, synthetic pores have been built by folding DNA strands into defined channels(2,3). The DNA nanostructures are relevant as they overcome the narrow size range of protein pores and thereby accommodate folded protein analytes. The DNA nanomaterials are also easier to rationally design as demonstrated by synthetic ion channels(4) but also artificial cytoskeletons that bend bilayer membranes(3,5). The presentation will conclude with an outlook on future applications of the artificial membrane nanostructures(6). (1) Nature 2014 516 250; (2) Nano Lett. 2013 13 2351; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013 52 12069; Nat. Commun. 2017 8 14784; (3) Nat. Commun. 2018 9 1521; (4) Nat. Nanotechnol. 2016 11 152; Nat. Nanotechnol. 2017 12 619; ACS Nano 2015 9 1117; (5) Science 2016 352 890; Nat. Chem. 2017 9 611; Nat. Rev. Chem. 2018 in press (6) Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014 53 12466; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016 55 11106;