In Science this week, researchers from the Braunschweig University of Technology describe the use of a technique of folding DNA at the nanoscale — called DNA origami — to create structures that can be used to visualize biological processes at the single-molecule level. By linking gold nanoparticles to DNA origami structures that incorporate docking sites for a single fluorescent dye, the team created a "nano-lens" that acts as a nanoantenna capable of enhancing the fluorescence. The technique offers a fast and inexpensive alternative to existing single-molecule visualization approaches, the researchers say.
In Science Translational Medicine, an international team led by University of Cambridge researchers report on the combination of imaging and genomic data to better predict the survival of breast cancer patients — since solid tumors are composed of both cancer and normal cells, interpretation of their molecular profiles can be challenging. Additionally, "tissue architecture is generally not reflected in molecular assays, rendering this rich information underused." To tackle these issues, the investigators developed algorithms identify a cell based on the shape of its nucleus and combined those algorithms with gene-expression analyses to create a robust method that could predict survival in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer patients. This integrated approach helps bridge the gap between visual pathology and quantitative molecular analyses, the team adds.