Programming molecular topologies from single-stranded nucleic acids

Xiaodong Qi, Fei Zhang, Zhaoming Su, Shuoxing Jiang, Dongran Han, Baoquan Ding, Yan Liu, Wah Chiu, Peng Yin, Hao Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Molecular knots represent one of the most extraordinary topological structures in biological polymers. Creating highly knotted nanostructures with well-defined and sophisticated geometries and topologies remains challenging. Here, we demonstrate a general strategy to design and construct highly knotted nucleic acid nanostructures, each weaved from a single-stranded DNA or RNA chain by hierarchical folding in a prescribed order. Sets of DNA and RNA knots of two- or three-dimensional shapes have been designed and constructed (ranging from 1700 to 7500 nucleotides), and they exhibit complex topological features, with high crossing numbers (from 9 up to 57). These single-stranded DNA/RNA knots can be replicated and amplified enzymatically in vitro and in vivo. This work establishes a general platform for constructing nucleic acid nanostructures with complex molecular topologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4579
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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