Editor's Summary

7 May 2009

DNA: boxing clever

The use of DNA for the self-assembly of nanostructures has promising applications in chemistry, molecular computing and other emerging areas of nanotechnology. One approach that has shown particular promise is known as 'DNA origami'. Developed by Paul Rothemund, it involves a long single-stranded viral DNA sequence that is folded, with the help of short synthetic oligonucleotides, to create a planar nanostructure of arbitrary shape. Andersen et al. have now extended the DNA origami method into a third dimension by creating an addressable DNA box of 42times36times36 nm3 that can be opened in the presence of an externally supplied 'key'. Controlled access to the interior compartment of this DNA nanocontainer could yield several interesting applications, for example as a logic sensor for multiple-sequence signals or for the controlled release of nanocargos.



LetterSelf-assembly of a nanoscale DNA box with a controllable lid

Ebbe S. Andersen, Mingdong Dong, Morten M. Nielsen, Kasper Jahn, Ramesh Subramani, Wael Mamdouh, Monika M. Golas, Bjoern Sander, Holger Stark, Cristiano L. P. Oliveira, Jan Skov Pedersen, Victoria Birkedal, Flemming Besenbacher, Kurt V. Gothelf & Jørgen Kjems