Controlling enzymes with a DNA nano-vault

PhD defence, Thursday 17 November 2016. Guido Grossi.

2016.11.17 | Steffi Hjerrild Iversen

Guido Grossi

The image shows the molecular rendering of a DNA-made vault that encloses an enzyme (pink). The DNA vault is a dynamic, three-dimensional DNA origami nano-container designed to inhibit and activate enzymes in a user-controlled fashion by compartmentalization. The locks are shown in green and light blue, while the opening keys that trigger the structure open are shown in orange.

Enzymes are natural nanomachines that speed up chemical reactions converting substrate molecules into products. Enzymes are also exploited for multiple technological applications, but a general way to control their activities is still missing. During his PhD studies, Guido Grossi designed, constructed and characterized a nanoscale vault made out of DNA that can encapsulate and control enzymes. This vault has solid walls and a multi-lock system that can be opened only in the presence of specific biological signals. When the vault opens, it exposes the encapsulated enzyme to substrate molecules in solution, thus activating it. In the future DNA vaults may be used to develop advanced applications in nano-medicine, biotechnology and synthetic biology.

The PhD degree was completed at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), Science and Technology, Aarhus University.

This résumé was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Thursday 17 November 2016 at 9.15
Building 1532, room 122, Lecture Theatre G2, Department of Mathematics, Ny Munkegade 118, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C.
Title of dissertation:
DNA nanostructures to control enzymatic activities
Contact information: Guido Grossi, e-mail:
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor William Shih, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, USA
Professor Christof M. Niemeyer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Professor Daniel Otzen  (chair), iNANO and Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Main supervisor:
Associate Professor Ebbe Sloth Andersen, iNANO and Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Professor Jørgen Kjems, iNANO and Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.
The dissertation is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST, Ny Munkegade 120, building 1520, rooms 128-134, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
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Revised 23.03.2017