PerspectiveMaterials Science

Exploiting weak interactions in DNA self-assembly

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Science  27 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6229, pp. 1417-1418
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa9483

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Many dynamic biomolecular complexes, such as actin filaments or microtubules, are formed through the assembly of numerous subunits that can disassemble again after a modest input of energy. To achieve structural integrity, the interfaces between domains must be relatively large. At the same time, the overall adhesion energy of each interface must be sufficiently low so that it can be readily broken on command. On page 1446 of this issue, Gerling et al. (1) report a framework that satisfies these conditions for the programmable dynamic assembly and disassembly of rigid three-dimensional (3D) structures built from DNA origami. Such devices could prove useful for applications such as sensors and therapeutic delivery vehicles.