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DNA Braces For Change

 
  February, 7 2008 10:18
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Dynamic DNA nanostructures can change their shape in response to specific molecular signals, according to a study to be published online in Nature Nanotechnology. The ability to rearrange well-defined 3D assemblies may have implications for the fabrication of nanomechanical devices or for drug-release applications.

Although DNA is best known as the molecule that encodes genetic information, it is also an incredibly versatile building material at the nanoscale. Many examples of DNA nanostructures have been reported, but potential uses are somewhat limited by their static nature.

Andrew Turberfield and co-workers have made DNA tetrahedra containing edges that can be expanded and contracted to change the overall shape of the assembly. They constructed a nanodevice that can be cycled through four different states by incorporating two different reconfigurable edges in a single DNA tetrahedron. In principle, this process could be used to produce useful motion by integrating the tetrahedra into larger structures.

Author contact:

Andrew Turberfield (University of Oxford, UK)
E-mail: a.turberfield1@physics.ox.ac.uk

Abstract available online.

(C) Nature Nanotechnology press release.


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