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Synthesis from DNA of a molecule with the connectivity of a cube


A PRINCIPAL goal of biotechnology is the assembly of novel biomaterials for analytical, industrial and therapeutic purposes. The advent of stable immobile nucleic acid branched junctions1–4 makes DNA a good candidate for building frameworks to which proteins or other functional molecules can be attached and thereby juxtaposed5–7. The addition of single-stranded 'sticky' ends8 to branched DNA molecules converts them into macromolecular valence clusters that can be ligated together1. The edges of these frameworks are double-helical DNA, and the vertices correspond to the branch points of junctions. Here, we report the construction from DNA of a covalently closed cube-like molecular complex containing twelve equal-length double-helical edges arranged about eight vertices. Each of the six 'faces' of the object is a single-stranded cyclic molecule, doubly catenated to four neighbouring strands, and each vertex is connected by an edge to three others. Each edge contains a unique restriction site for analytical purposes. This is the first construction of a closed polyhedral object from DNA.

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Chen, J., Seeman, N. Synthesis from DNA of a molecule with the connectivity of a cube. Nature 350, 631–633 (1991).

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