Autonomous dynamic control of DNA nanostructure self-assembly

Leopold N. Green, Hari K.K. Subramanian, Vahid Mardanlou, Jongmin Kim, Rizal Hariadi, Elisa Franco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Biological cells routinely reconfigure their shape using dynamic signalling and regulatory networks that direct self-assembly processes in time and space, through molecular components that sense, process and transmit information from the environment. A similar strategy could be used to enable life-like behaviours in synthetic materials. Nucleic acid nanotechnology offers a promising route towards this goal through a variety of sensors, logic and dynamic components and self-assembling structures. Here, by harnessing both dynamic and structural DNA nanotechnology, we demonstrate dynamic control of the self-assembly of DNA nanotubes—a well-known class of programmable DNA nanostructures. Nanotube assembly and disassembly is controlled with minimal synthetic gene systems, including an autonomous molecular oscillator. We use a coarse-grained computational model to capture nanotube length distribution dynamics in response to inputs from nucleic acid circuits. We hope that these results may find use for the development of responsive nucleic acid materials, with potential applications in biomaterials science, nanofabrication and drug delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-520
Number of pages11
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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