Origami-like Nanostructures Made from DNA
Aug 6, 2009 image
Faculty member William Shih and Technology Development Fellow Shawn Douglas, along with a colleague at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, published a report in Science, on Aug. 7, 2009, demonstrating their ability to engineer DNA into complex shapes that twist and curve. Through programmable self-assembly, strands of DNA are directed to form a custom-shaped bundle of tightly cross-linked double helices, arrayed in parallel to their helical axes. Targeted insertions and deletions of base pairs cause the DNA bundles to develop twist of either handedness or to curve. The degree of curvature could be quantitatively controlled, and a radius of curvature as tight as 6 nanometers was achieved. They also combined multiple curved elements to build several different types of intricate nanostructures, such as square-toothed gears or a wireframe beach ball just 50 nanometers in diameter.
Credit: Shawn Douglas