Making and opening a Mobius strip with DNA Kirigami

The already numerous uses of DNA origami have been still further extended by the demonstration of topological reconfiguration—specifically, turning a 50-nanometer diameter Möbius strip into an open ring of twice the diameter by cutting along its centerline by removing the DNA “staples” along the centerline. The accomplishment by Scientists at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, led by Hao Yan and Yan Liu, is described on the AAAS science news site EurekAlert! by science writer Richard Harth “DNA art imitates life: Construction of a nanoscale Mobius strip“:

Eventually, researchers hope to capitalize on the unique material properties of such nano-architectures, applying them to the development of biological and chemical sensing devices, nanolithography, drug delivery mechanisms pared down to the molecular scale and a new breed of nanoelectronics.

The team used a versatile construction method known as DNA origami and in a dramatic extension of the technique, (which they refer to as DNA Kirigami), they cut the resulting Möbius shapes along their length to produce twisted ring structures and interlocking loops known as catenanes.

…”We want to push the Origami-Kirigami technology to create more sophisticated structures to demonstrate that we can make any arbitrary shape or topology using self-assembly,” Han says.

I would not want to try to guess the uses of such topological reconfiugration, but one possibility that comes to mind for a drug delivery vehicle would be to expand a pore (the small area bounded by the Möbius strip) into the larger opening of the ring formed by removing the DNA staples.

Journal Reference (courtesy of ScienceDaily):
Dongran Han, Suchetan Pal, Yan Liu, Hao Yan. Folding and cutting DNA into reconfigurable topological nanostructures. Nature Nanotechnology, 2010;

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