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Progress in molecular modelling of DNA materials

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      Folding DNA to create nanoscale shapes and patterns.

      'Bottom-up fabrication', which exploits the intrinsic properties of atoms and molecules to direct their self-organization, is widely used to make relatively simple nanostructures. A key goal for this approach is to create nanostructures of high complexity, matching that routinely achieved by 'top-down' methods. The self-assembly of DNA molecules provides an attractive route towards this goal. Here I describe a simple method for folding long, single-stranded DNA molecules into arbitrary two-dimensional shapes. The design for a desired shape is made by raster-filling the shape with a 7-kilobase single-stranded scaffold and by choosing over 200 short oligonucleotide 'staple strands' to hold the scaffold in place. Once synthesized and mixed, the staple and scaffold strands self-assemble in a single step. The resulting DNA structures are roughly 100 nm in diameter and approximate desired shapes such as squares, disks and five-pointed stars with a spatial resolution of 6 nm. Because each oligonucleotide can serve as a 6-nm pixel, the structures can be programmed to bear complex patterns such as words and images on their surfaces. Finally, individual DNA structures can be programmed to form larger assemblies, including extended periodic lattices and a hexamer of triangles (which constitutes a 30-megadalton molecular complex).
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        A DNA-based method for rationally assembling nanoparticles into macroscopic materials.

        Colloidal particles of metals and semiconductors have potentially useful optical, optoelectronic and material properties that derive from their small (nanoscopic) size. These properties might lead to applications including chemical sensors, spectroscopic enhancers, quantum dot and nanostructure fabrication, and microimaging methods. A great deal of control can now be exercised over the chemical composition, size and polydispersity of colloidal particles, and many methods have been developed for assembling them into useful aggregates and materials. Here we describe a method for assembling colloidal gold nanoparticles rationally and reversibly into macroscopic aggregates. The method involves attaching to the surfaces of two batches of 13-nm gold particles non-complementary DNA oligonucleotides capped with thiol groups, which bind to gold. When we add to the solution an oligonucleotide duplex with 'sticky ends' that are complementary to the two grafted sequences, the nanoparticles self-assemble into aggregates. This assembly process can be reversed by thermal denaturation. This strategy should now make it possible to tailor the optical, electronic and structural properties of the colloidal aggregates by using the specificity of DNA interactions to direct the interactions between particles of different size and composition.
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          Dissipative particle dynamics: Bridging the gap between atomistic and mesoscopic simulation

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Molecular Simulation
            Molecular Simulation
            Informa UK Limited
            0892-7022
            1029-0435
            August 08 2014
            May 23 2014
            : 40
            : 10-11
            : 777-783
            10.1080/08927022.2014.913792
            © 2014

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