The interactions between DNA nanostructures and cells: A critical overview from a cell biology perspective

Adam Frtús, Barbora Smolková, Mariia Uzhytchak, Mariia Lunova, Milan Jirsa, Skylar J.W. Henry, Alexandr Dejneka, Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Oleg Lunov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


DNA nanotechnology has yielded remarkable advances in composite materials with diverse applications in biomedicine. The specificity and predictability of building 3D structures at the nanometer scale make DNA nanotechnology a promising tool for uses in biosensing, drug delivery, cell modulation, and bioimaging. However, for successful translation of DNA nanostructures to real-world applications, it is crucial to understand how they interact with living cells, and the consequences of such interactions. In this review, we summarize the current state of knowledge on the interactions of DNA nanostructures with cells. We identify key challenges, from a cell biology perspective, that influence progress towards the clinical translation of DNA nanostructures. We close by providing an outlook on what questions must be addressed to accelerate the clinical translation of DNA nanostructures. Statement of significance: Self-assembled DNA nanostructures (DNs) offers unique opportunities to overcome persistent challenges in the nanobiotechnology field. However, the interactions between engineered DNs and living cells are still not well defined. Critical systematization of current cellular models and biological responses triggered by DNs is a crucial foundation for the successful clinical translation of DNA nanostructures. Moreover, such an analysis will identify the pitfalls and challenges that are present in the field, and provide a basis for overcoming those challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-22
Number of pages13
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • Bionano interactions
  • Cellular uptake
  • Cytotoxicity
  • DNA nanotechnology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Protein corona

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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