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Cinnamate-based DNA photolithography


As demonstrated by means of DNA nanoconstructs1, as well as DNA functionalization of nanoparticles2,3,4 and micrometre-scale colloids5,6,7,8, complex self-assembly processes require components to associate with particular partners in a programmable fashion. In many cases the reversibility of the interactions between complementary DNA sequences is an advantage9. However, permanently bonding some or all of the complementary pairs may allow for flexibility in design and construction10. Here, we show that the substitution of a cinnamate group for a pair of complementary bases provides an efficient, addressable, ultraviolet light-based method to bond complementary DNA covalently. To show the potential of this approach, we wrote micrometre-scale patterns on a surface using ultraviolet light and demonstrated the reversible attachment of conjugated DNA and DNA-coated colloids. Our strategy enables both functional DNA photolithography and multistep, specific binding in self-assembly processes.

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Figure 1: Schematic representation of cinnamate-containing nucleoside and the cycloaddition products.
Figure 2: Efficient and specific crosslinking with cinnamate-based DNA strands, and the application on colloids.
Figure 3: Schematic protocol for DNA photolithography with cinnamate-based DNA strands.
Figure 4: DNA photolithographic patterns on surfaces.
Figure 5: Resolution of DNA photolithography.


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This research has been partially supported by the MRSEC Program of the National Science Foundation under Award Number DMR-0820341 for the cinnamate-functionalized phosphoramidite, NASA NNX08AK04G for microscopy, and DOE-BES-DE-SC0007991 to P.C. for data acquisition and analysis, as well as by the following grants to N.C.S. for DNA synthesis and characterization: GM-29554 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, CTS-0608889 and CCF-0726378 from the National Science Foundation, 48681-EL and W911NF-07-1-0439 from the Army Research Office, and N000140910181 and N000140911118 from the Office of Naval Research. J. Romulus acknowledges support through the Margaret Strauss Kramer Graduate Student Fellowship in Chemistry.

Author information




L.F. designed and performed experiments, analysed data and wrote the paper; J. Romulus and M.L. synthesized the cinnamate-containing phosphoramidite and wrote the paper; R.S. incorporated the cinnamate in the DNA strands, performed gel experiments, analysed data and wrote the paper; J. Royer performed experiments, analysed data and wrote the paper; K-T.W. performed experiments, analysed data and wrote the paper; Q.X. performed experiments and analysed data; N.C.S. initiated and directed the project, designed experiments, analysed data and wrote the paper; M.W. initiated and directed the project, designed experiments and wrote the paper; P.C. initiated and directed the project, designed experiments, analysed data and wrote the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Lang Feng, Nadrian C. Seeman, Marcus Weck or Paul Chaikin.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Feng, L., Romulus, J., Li, M. et al. Cinnamate-based DNA photolithography. Nature Mater 12, 747–753 (2013).

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