Navigation Links
Harvard's Wyss Institute team creates versatile 3d nanostructures using DNA 'bricks'

Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have created more than 100 three-dimensional (3D) nanostructures using DNA building blocks that function like Lego bricks a major advance from the two-dimensional (2D) structures the same team built a few months ago.

In effect, the advance means researchers just went from being able to build a flat wall of Legos, to building a house. The new method, featured as a cover research article in the 30 November issue of Science, is the next step toward using DNA nanotechnologies for more sophisticated applications than ever possible before, such as "smart" medical devices that target drugs selectively to disease sites, programmable imaging probes, templates for precisely arranging inorganic materials in the manufacturing of next generation computer circuits, and more.

The nanofabrication technique, called "DNA-brick self-assembly," uses short, synthetic strands of DNA that work like interlocking Lego bricks. It capitalizes on the ability to program DNA to form into predesigned shapes thanks to the underlying "recipe" of DNA base pairs: A (adenosine) only binds to T (thymine) and C (cytosine) only binds to G (guanine).

Earlier this year, the Wyss team reported in Nature how they could create a collection of 2D shapes by stacking one DNA brick (42 bases in length) upon another (

But there's a "twist" in the new method required to build in 3D.

The trick is to start with an even smaller DNA brick (32 bases in length), which changes the orientation of every matched-up pair of bricks to a 90 degree anglegiving every two Legos a 3D shape. In this way, the team can use these bricks to build "out" in addition to "up," and eventually form 3D structures, such as a 25-nanometer solid cube containing hundreds of bricks. The cube becomes a "master" DNA "molecular canvas"; in this case, the canvas was comprised of 1000 so-called "voxels," which correspond to eight base-pairs and measure about 2.5 nanometers in size meaning this is architecture at its tiniest.

The master canvas is where the modularity comes in: by simply selecting subsets of specific DNA bricks from the large cubic structure, the team built 102 3D structures with sophisticated surface features, as well as intricate interior cavities and tunnels.

"This is a simple, versatile and robust method," says Peng Yin, Ph.D., Wyss core faculty member and senior author on the study.

Another method used to build 3D structures, called DNA origami, is tougher to use to build complex shapes, Yin said, because it relies on a long "scaffold" strand of DNA that folds to interact with hundreds of shorter "staple" strands and each new shape requires a new scaffold routing strategy and hence new staples. In contrast, the DNA brick method does not use any scaffold strand and therefore has a modular architecture; each brick can be added or removed independently.

"We are moving at lightning speed in our ability to devise ever more powerful ways to use biocompatible DNA molecules as structural building blocks for nanotechnology, which could have great value for medicine as well as non-medical applications," says Wyss Institute Founding Director Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D.

Contact: Kristen Kusek
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

Related biology technology :

1. Harvards Wyss Institute creates living human gut-on-a-chip
2. Masaryk Memorial Cancer Institute Reduces Losses and Administrative Overhead With Ekahau RTLS
3. Van Andel Institute Partners with UNCF to Recruit Students to Biomedical Research Careers
4. The Pharmabiotic Research Institute (PRI) is Preparing to Publish its First Works on the Therapeutic and Medicinal Potential of Probiotics
5. Michael A. Marletta Takes Office as New President of Scripps Research Institute
6. HealthCare Institute of New Jersey Releases 2011 Biopharmaceutical and Medical Technology Economic Impact Data
7. QIAGEN and Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology Collaborate to Develop Assay for Active TB Risk in Individuals With Latent Infection
8. DFH Pharma to Collaborate With National Cancer Institute to Develop Second-Generation HIV Maturation Inhibitor Drugs
9. Niels Bohr Institute gets top researcher from Harvard
10. Van Andel Research Institute Study Provides New Details of Fundamental Cellular Process
11. Lupus Research Institute Awards $3.6 Million for Novel Studies Driving Wide-Ranging New Science in Lupus
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Harvard's Wyss Institute team creates versatile 3d nanostructures using DNA 'bricks'
(Date:12/1/2015)... -- Twist Bioscience, a company focused on synthetic DNA, today announced ... selected as one of Foreign Policy,s 100 Leading ... of life . Each year, Foreign Policy selects ... have changed lives and are shaping the world. ... to be recognized among these incredible global leaders," said Leproust. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 2015 Oxford Finance LLC ("Oxford"), a specialty ... and healthcare services companies, today announced the closing of ... Inc. ("the Company"). Proceeds from the loan are being ... Company,s Rejuvaphyl™ and daily skincare products. ... brand of high potency skincare products that contain the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 01, 2015 ... of the "2016 Europe Cell Surface ... Technologies, Competitive Strategies, Opportunities for Suppliers--France, Germany, ... offering. --> ) has ... Europe Cell Surface Markers: Country Volume and ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Park Systems , ... add-on scanning ion conductance microscopy module to Park NX10 that is the only ... Park SICM benefits virtually all materials characterization that require measurements in liquid such ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:12/1/2015)... Calif. , Dec. 1, 2015 Synaptics ... human interface solutions, today announced a new agreement with ... OEMs with real-world test and development environments that combine ... solutions. The partnership reduces the complexity of FIDO certification ... software permits Synaptics and OEMs to verify FIDO enabled ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... BEACH, Fla. , Nov. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... as a finalist in this year,s Fierce Innovation Awards:  ... of FierceHealthIT , FierceHealthcare ... was recognized as a finalist in the category ... --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has ... - Technology and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" report ... --> Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology represent ... sensor vendor Idex forecasts an increase of 360% of ... and of the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):