Antibodies can control chemical reactions: scientists developed a synthesis strategy

Antibodies can control chemical reactions

A group of researchers identified the ability of antibodies to control chemical reactions. And they were able to use this opportunity by developing a strategy for the synthesis of functional molecules with specific diagnostic antibodies. What are antibodies? First of all, these are exceptional biomarkers, indicating many diseases and how the human immune system can resist them.

The experts from the Tor Vergata University of Rome said they found a way to change the purpose of biomarkers so that they can form a specific chemical reaction. Professor Francesco Ricci noted that a strategy for using specific antibodies has already been demonstrated.


They were able to manipulate certain chemical reactions, and these, in turn, formed a wide range of molecules from imaging to therapeutic agents. This scientific and unusual approach to biomarkers made it possible to synthesize a functional molecule from its inactive predecessors. Moreover, it happens only when there is a specific antibody in the reaction mixture.

To achieve that goal, the scientists had to take advantage of the versatility of synthetic DNA oligonucleotides and the predictability of DNA interactions. Amazing synthetic molecules can be modified with certain reactive groups and some recognition elements.

As a result, they can be redirected to specific antibodies. Graduate student Lorena Baranda says that during the research, they rationally designed and synthesized a pair of modified DNA sequences.


And in the end, this pair of sequences was able to recognize a particular antibody and bind to it, forming a reaction. In the process, reactive groups that attach to the other ends of the DNA strands are in close proximity, triggering a reaction.

This ultimately leads to the formation of a chemical product. The scientists plan to use and apply this strategy to control the formation of functional molecules, for example, therapeutic agents in order to determine antibodies to biomarkers with their help.

Reference: “Using antibodies to control DNA-templated chemical reactions” by Lorena Baranda Pellejero, Malihe Mahdifar, Gianfranco Ercolani, Jonathan Watson, Tom Brown Jr and Francesco Ricci, 7 December 2020, Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-20024-3