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Harvard's Wyss Institute team creates versatile 3d nanostructures using DNA 'bricks'
Date:12/4/2012

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 (http://wyss.harvard.edu/viewpressrelease/84/wyss-institute-develops-new-nanodevice-manufacturing-strategy-using-selfassembling-dna-building-blocks-).

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
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Contact: Kristen Kusek
kristen.kusek@wyss.harvard.edu
617-432-8266
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
Source:Eurekalert  

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