Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities

© 1999 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 1999 Digest and Discharge (DD)

After virion acquisition as previously described, the particle is placed in a leakproof transfer chamber. The virus is then pistoned into a morcellation chamber (Section where it is chopped by orthogonally traveling diamondoid blades into ~10 nm pieces, greatly increasing the reactive surface area of the virus material. The morcellate is then pistoned into a reaction chamber. Capsid-specific proteinases and peptidases are introduced, reducing all virus proteins to amino acids, which are removed from solution by molecular sorting rotors (Section 3.4.2) and discharged. Lipases are required for digesting enveloped viruses. Deoxyribonuclease and ribonuclease enzymes are also introduced, reducing viral DNA or RNA to nucleotides which are themselves removed from the solution by a second set of molecular sorting rotors and discharged. The enzymes remaining in solution are pumped back into storage vessels via sorting rotors, and the reaction chamber is ready for the next cycle.

For example, a 70-nm adenovirus particle containing 8% DNA by weight is reduced to 1.7 x 10-16 gm (~106 molecules) of amino acids and 1.4 x 10-17 gm (~30,000 molecules) of nucleotides. Natural bloodstream concentrations of all amino acids are typically ~5 x 10-5 gm/cm3 (~3 x 1011 adenovirus equivalents per cm3), and ~10-6 gm/cm3 (~7 x 1010 adenovirus equivalents per cm3) for nucleotides (Appendix B), so the maximum "safe" viral material discharge rate appears nucleotide-limited to ~1011 virus particles per cm3, which is at or above the typical virion particle density in serious infections. Hence, digested-virus material discharges should not significantly augment natural serum concentrations of amino acids or nucleotides.

Energy costs are minimal. Single-virus mincing costs ~0.1 pW of power for a duration of ~8 millisec (Eqn. 9.54). Representative enzyme operating frequencies (turnover numbers) range from 1-2 KHz for lactate dehydrogenase and penicillinase to 15-100 Hz for DNA polymerase and chymotrypsin,759 giving digestion times on the order of 1-100 millisec when an excess of enzyme is present. Out-rotoring all final-product amino acids costs at most ~ 20 pW for at most ~10 millisec duration using ~100 sorting rotors per each of the 20 essential amino acid types. Pumping a generous ~100 virus-volumes of enzyme-rich solution through a 1-micron length of 60-nm diameter pipe at 1 atm pressure costs 2 pW for ~ 1 millisec duration (Section 9.2.5). Hence virion processing time is of order ~100 millisec and requires at most ~30 pW during processing.


Last updated on 24 February 2003