Menu

Giant DNA Origami

Researchers create the largest 3-D DNA structures to date, many times bigger than previously constructed origami shapes.

Sep 18, 2014
Jef Akst

FLICKR, MEHMET PINARCIDNA origami, a strategy devised eight years ago by Paul Rothemund’s group at Caltech, allows researchers to link DNA scaffolds with smaller bits of the nucleic acid called staples to create desired shapes. The technique is now being used to develop drug-delivery systems and other molecular machines. But the most common technique—using an M13 bacteriophage to generate single-stranded DNA scaffolds of up to 7 kilobases—has restricted the size of the products to tens of square nanometers. Double-stranded DNA could be produced at longer lengths, but was limited in its ability to fold at a researchers’ will. Now, Thomas LaBean of North Carolina State University and colleagues have devised a solution: using a hybrid virus for DNA production, the researchers can generate scaffolds of up to 51 kilobases—and they’ve used these to create DNA structures that are hundreds of square nanometers in size, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) reported.

“They’ve achieved something people have been trying to do for a while,” Rothemund told C&EN.

To fold giant pieces of DNA, LaBean’s team used more than 1,600 staples. According to C&EN, such a task would have cost $7,000 using conventional DNA synthesis. So to reduce the cost, the team repurposed an ink-jet printer to synthesize the DNA, using reusable templates and chips with polymer micropillars, then amplified the produces using PCR.

“We had to do two things to make this viable,” lead author Alexandria Marchi of Duke University said in a press release. “First we had to develop a custom scaffold strand that contained 51 kilobases. . . . Second, in order to make this economically feasible, we had to find a cost-effective way of synthesizing staple strands—because we went from needing 220 staple strands to needing more than 1,600.”

Using these two DNA components, the team constructed notched rectangles with surface areas seven times bigger than similar structures made with traditional, M13 phage-produced scaffolds. The researchers reported their results this month (September 1) in Nano Letters.

“These origami can be customized for use in everything from studying cell behavior to creating templates for the nanofabrication of electronic components,” LaBean said in the release.

September 2018

The Muscle Issue

The dynamic tissue reveals its secrets

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress, a Folsom, California based leading supplier of human biospecimens, announces the release of frozen Peripheral Blood Leukopaks. Leukopaks provide an enriched source of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with low granulocyte and red blood cells that can be used in a variety of downstream cell-based applications.

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

Vector Laboratories, a leader in the development and manufacture of labeling and detection reagents for biomedical research, introduces VECTASHIELD® Vibrance™ – antifade mounting media that delivers significant improvements to the immunofluorescence workflow.

Enabling Genomics-Guided Precision Medicine

Enabling Genomics-Guided Precision Medicine

Download this eBook from Qiagen to learn more about the promise of precision medicine and how QCITM Interpret can help deliver better care with better knowledge.

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Download this white paper from Bertin Technologies to learn how to extract and analyze lipid samples from various models!