Using DNA origami to build nanodevices of the future

August 28, 2015

Scientists have developed a method, using a double layer of lipids, which facilitates the assembly of DNA origami units, bringing us one-step closer to organized DNA nanomachines.

Scientists have been studying ways to use synthetic DNA as a building block for smaller and faster devices. DNA has the advantage of being inherently "coded". Each DNA strand is formed of one of four "codes" that can link to only one complementary code each, thus binding two DNA strands together. Scientists are using this inherent coding to manipulate and "fold" DNA to form "origami nanostructures": extremely small two- and three-dimensional shapes that can then be used as construction material to build nanodevices such as nanomotors for use in targeted drug delivery inside the body.

Despite progress that has been made in this field, assembling DNA origami units into larger structures remains challenging.

A team of scientists at Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) has developed an approach that could bring us one step closer to the organized nanomachines of the future.

They used a double layer of lipids (fats) containing both a positive and a negative charge. DNA origami structures were weakly absorbed onto the lipid layer through an electrostatic interaction. The weak bond between the origami structures and the lipid layer allowed them to move more freely than in other approaches developed by scientists, facilitating their interaction with one another to assemble and form larger structures.

"We anticipate that our approach will further expand the potential applications of DNA origami structures and their assemblies in the fields of nanotechnology, biophysics and synthetic biology," says chemical biologist Professor Hiroshi Sugiyama from iCeMS.

The study was published in Nature Communications on August 27th, 2015.

Fig. Schematic representation of the lipid-bilayer-assisted self-assembly of DNA
origami nanostructures (A) and the AFM images of assembled DNA origami (B).

Publication Information

Extenal LinkLipid-bilayer-assisted two-dimensional self-assembly of DNA origami nanostructures

Yuki Suzuki1,2, Masayuki Endo2,3*, and Hiroshi Sugiyama1,2,3*

*Corresponding author

Nature Communications | Published Online 27 August 2015
doi: 10.1038/ncomms9052

  1. Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-oiwakecho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
  2. CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Sanbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0075, Japan
  3. Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (WPI-iCeMS), Kyoto University, Yoshida-ushinomiyacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan