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Programmable self-assembly of metal ions inside artificial DNA duplexes

Nature Nanotechnology volume 1, pages 190194 (2006) | Download Citation


  • An Erratum to this article was published on 05 December 2006


The ultimate bottom-up approach for the construction of functional nanosystems requires the precise arrangement of atoms and molecules in three dimensions. DNA is currently one of the most prominent molecules able to self-assemble into complex networks1,2 and is therefore regarded as the ‘silicon of the nano-world’3. Metals and metal ions, in contrast, are the atomic building-blocks needed in such materials to establish functions such as electrical conductivity or magnetism. Here we report a new concept, which efficiently combines metal ions and DNA. The DNA structure is used as a matrix to program robustly the complexation of different metal ions under precise control with regard to element, number and composition.

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This work was partially supported by Grant-in-Aids for Young Scientists (A) to K.T., Priority Area to K.T. and M.S., Scientific Research (S) to M.S., and the 21st Century COE Program for Frontiers in Fundamental Chemistry to M.S. from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Japan), The Toray Science Foundation to K.T. and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) to T.C., as well as the Volkswagen Foundation. G.H.C. acknowledges the Funds of the German Chemical Industry for a pre-doctoral Fellowship.

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    • Kentaro Tanaka
    •  & Guido H. Clever

    These authors contributed equally to this work


  1. Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan

    • Kentaro Tanaka
    • , Yusuke Takezawa
    • , Yasuyuki Yamada
    •  & Mitsuhiko Shionoya
  2. PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), 4-1-8, Honcho, Kawaguchi-shi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan

    • Kentaro Tanaka
  3. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Butenandtstrasse 5–13, Haus F, 81377 München, Germany

    • Guido H. Clever
    • , Corinna Kaul
    •  & Thomas Carell


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K.T., G.H.C., M.S. and T.C. planned the project and analyzed the experimental data. K.T., Y.T., Y.Y. performed the experiments on the duplexes containing the hydroxypyridone ligands and G.H.C. and K.C. performed the experiments on the duplexes containing the salen ligand.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Mitsuhiko Shionoya or Thomas Carell.

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