DNA origami with Complex Curvatures in 3D

15 Apr 2011

Center researchers have developed a new DNA origami design strategy for engineering complex, arbitrarily shaped 3D DNA nanostructures that have substantial intrinsic curvatures. This strategy has been presented in a paper by Professors Hao Yan, Yan Liu and coworkers that was featured on the cover of Science for April 15, 2011.

Use of DNA as a structural material is in the basis of the DNA nanotechnology searching for ways to assemble nanoscale structures with a variety of geometric shapes. Hao Yan and Yan Liu have a goal to develop design principles that will allow researchers to model arbitrary 3D shapes with control over the degree of surface curvature. Classical Watson-Crick base-pairing mechanism predictably provides build up of long DNA double helices (one dimensional long strands of DNA). DNA origami technique allows folding up the DNA strands at specific points and building 2D and 3D structures. The structures are held together by crossovers between neighboring helices, and the allowed crossover points are based on the preexisting structural characteristics of B-form DNA. Programmable placement of crossovers and nick points into a prearranged DNA scaffold provides a combination of structural flexibility and stability. The paper describes the ways how to experimentally obtain a series of DNA nanostructures with high curvature — such as 2D arrangements of concentric rings and 3D spherical shells, ellipsoidal shells, and a nanoflask. Tunneling electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy have proven the three-dimensional nature of the synthesized complexes.

In the Center for Bio-inspired Solar Fuel Production Professors Hao Yan and Yan Liu are involved in Subtask 2 working on design of artificial water oxidation catalyst for hydrogen production. The predictable and programmable DNA structures that can be routinely synthesized and self-assembled in various shapes will allow the researchers of the Center to mimic elaborate geometries in the natural water-oxidizing catalyst in Photosystem II. Currently the lab experiments are under way to make self-assembled structures like elaborate DNA nano-cages that help to bring together functional groups of synthetic proteins that bind atoms of manganese in the water-oxidizing manganese cluster.


DNA Origami from Biodesign Institute at ASU on Vimeo.







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