Luvena L. Ong 1 , 2 , Nikita Hanikel 1 , Omar K. Yaghi 1 , Casey Grun 1 , Maximilian T. Strauss 3 , 4 , Patrick Bron 5 , Josephine Lai-Kee-Him 5 , Florian Schueder 1 , 3 , 4 , Bei Wang 1 , 6 , Pengfei Wang 7 , Jocelyn Y. Kishi 1 , 8 , Cameron A. Myhrvold 1 , 8 , Allen Zhu 1 , Ralf Jungmann 3 , 4 , Gaetan Bellot , 9 , Yonggang Ke , 7 , 10 , Peng Yin , 1 , 8
06 June 2018
Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) are widely used to construct nanoscale structures with ever increasing complexity 1– 14 for possible applications in fields as diverse as structural biology, biophysics, synthetic biology and photonics. The nanostructures are formed through one-pot self-assembly, with early examples typically containing on the order of 10 unique DNA strands. The introduction of DNA origami 4 , which uses many staple strands to fold one long scaffold strand into a desired structure, gave access to kilo- to mega-dalton nanostructures containing about 10 2 unique DNA strands 6, 7, 10, 13 . Aiming for even larger DNA origami structures is in principle possible 15, 16 , but faces the challenge of having to manufacture and route an increasingly long scaffold strand. An alternative and in principle more readily scalable approach uses DNA brick assembly 8, 9 , which doesn’t need a scaffold and instead uses hundreds of short DNA brick strands that self-assemble according to specific inter-brick interactions. First-generation bricks used to create 3D structures are 32-nt long with four 8-nt binding domains that directed 10 2 distinct bricks into well-formed assemblies, but attempts to create larger structures encountered practical challenges and had limited success. 9 Here we show that a new generation of DNA bricks with longer binding domains makes it possible to self-assemble 0.1 – 1 giga-dalton three-dimensional nanostructures from 10 4 unique components, including a 0.5 giga-dalton cuboid containing 30,000 unique bricks and a 1 giga-dalton rotationally symmetric tetramer. We also assemble a cuboid containing 10,000 bricks and 20,000 uniquely addressable ‘nano-voxels’ that serves as a molecular canvas for three-dimensional sculpting, with introduction of sophisticated user-prescribed 3D cavities yielding structures such as letters, a complex helicoid and a teddy bear. We anticipate that, with further optimization, even larger assemblies might be accessible and prove useful as scaffolds or for positioning functional components.