Betty YS Kim, James T Rutka, Warren CW Chan

N Engl J Med 2010; 363:2434-2443 | DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra0912273


Many diseases originate from alterations in biologic processes at the molecular or nanoscale level. Mutated genes, misfolded proteins, and infections caused by viruses or bacteria can lead to cell malfunction or miscommunication, sometimes leading to life-threatening diseases. These molecules and infectious agents are nanometers in size and may be located in biologic systems that are protected by nanometer-size barriers, such as nuclear pores 9 nm in diameter. Their chemical properties, size, and shape appear to dictate the transport of molecules to specific biologic compartments and the interactions between molecules.