The sector of materials science has grown to be abuzz with “metallic-natural frameworks” (MOFs), versatile compounds made up of metallic ions related to natural ligands, thus forming one-, two-, or three-dimensional constructions. There’s now an ever-rising record of purposes for MOF, together with separating petrochemicals, detoxing water from heavy metals and fluoride anions, and recovering hydrogen and even gold from it.a
However not too long ago, scientists have begun making MOFs, the product of constructing blocks that sometimes makeup biomolecules, e.g., amino acids for proteins or nucleic acids for DNA. Aside from the standard MOF use in chemical catalysis, these biologically derived MOFs might be additionally used as fashions for complex biomolecules which might be troublesome to isolate and examine with different means.
The rationale for this was to imitate the capabilities of DNA, one in every of which embody hydrogen-bonding interactions between adenine and one other nucleobase, thymine. This can be a critical step within the formation of the DNA double helix; however, it additionally contributes to the general folding of each DNA and RNA inside the cell.
Learning their new MOF, the researchers discovered that thymine molecules diffuse inside its pores. Simulating this diffusion, they found that thymine molecules had been hydrogen-bonded with adenine molecules on the MOF’s cavities, which means that it was profitable in mimicking what occurs on DNA.
“The adenine molecules act as construction-directing brokers and ‘lock’ thymine molecules in particular positions throughout the cavities of our MOF,” says Kyriakos Stylianou. So the researchers took benefit of this locking and illuminated the thymine-loaded MOF — a method to catalyze a chemical response.
In consequence, the thymine molecules could be dimerized right into a di-thymine product, which the scientists have been capable of being isolate — an enormous benefit, on condition that di-thymine is expounded to skin cancer and may now be merely isolated and studied.
“Total, our research highlights the utility of biologically derived MOFs as nanoreactors for capturing organic molecules utilizing particular interactions, and for reworking them into different molecules,” says Stylianou.