Isothermal self-assembly of complex DNA structures under diverse and biocompatible conditions

Cameron Myhrvold, Mingjie Dai, Pamela A. Silver, Peng Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Nucleic acid nanotechnology has enabled researchers to construct a wide range of multidimensional structures in vitro. Until recently, most DNA-based structures were assembled by thermal annealing using high magnesium concentrations and nonphysiological environments. Here, we describe a DNA self-assembly system that can be tuned to form a complex target structure isothermally at any prescribed temperature or homogeneous condition within a wide range. We were able to achieve isothermal assembly between 15 and 69 C in a predictable fashion by altering the strength of strand-strand interactions in several different ways, for example, domain length, GC content, and linker regions between domains. We also observed the assembly of certain structures under biocompatible conditions, that is, at physiological pH, temperature, and salinity in the presence of the molecular crowding agent polyethylene glycol (PEG) mimicking the cellular environment. This represents an important step toward the self-assembly of geometrically precise DNA or RNA structures in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4242-4248
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 11 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Materials Science


  • DNA nanotechnology
  • biocompatible assembly
  • isothermal assembly
  • molecular crowding
  • single-stranded tiles


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