Albany 2019: 20th Conversation - Abstracts

category image Albany 2019
Conversation 20
June 11-15 2019
Adenine Press (2019)

Complex self-assembly and transformation of DNA nanostructures

A key challenge in nanotechnology is to design and fabricate nanostructures and nanodevices, which can be used as general platforms for basic science research (e.g. material sciences, structural biology, molecular biology, etc.), and for practical applications. Owing largely to its programmable design strategies, nucleic acids self-assembly, and in particular DNA self-assembly, has emerged as a powerful approach in programming self-assembly of custom-designed intricate nanostructures.

The core mission of our lab (ke-lab.gatech.edu) is to develop novel bottom-up self-assembly strategies to fully demonstrate the potential of DNA as a programable nanomaterial. Our most recent work focuses on making massive/complex static DNA nanostructures and dynamic DNA devices. In 2012, we invented a modular assembly strategy for constructing complex 3D shapes, up to 8 megadalton in size, using short synthetic DNA oligos — “DNA bricks”. We will discuss how we can use this method to construct fully addressable, three-dimensional GDa nanostructures with rationally designed shapes. The second part of this talk will focus on dynamic DNA nanomachines that can perform a range of controlled motions at nanoscale. Particularly, we have demonstrated prescribed, long-range information relay in artificial molecular arrays assembled from modular DNA antijunction units. The array transformation is equivalent to a molecular “Domino”: Once initiated at a few selected units, the transformation then propagates to neighboring units and eventually the entire array. The specific information pathways by which this transformation occurs can be controlled by adding trigger strands to specific units, or by altering the design of individual units, the connections between units, and the geometry of the array. Beyond sophisticated nanostructures and nanomachinces, DNA nanotechnology has found increasing capabilities in many applications, such as fabrication of functional materials at nanoscale precision. As examples of DNA-based applications, I will also present some of our most recent works on DNA-templated self-assembly of nanoparticles, and on DNA-based nanoscale drug delivery systems.


    Ke, Y., L. L. Ong, W. M. Shih and P. Yin (2012). "Three-dimensional structures self-assembled from DNA bricks." Science 338(6111): 1177-1183.

    Ong, L. L., N. Hanikel, O. K. Yaghi, C. Grun, M. T. Strauss, P. Bron, J. Lai-Kee-Him, F. Schueder, B. Wang, P. Wang, J. Y. Kishi, C. Myhrvold, A. Zhu, R. Jungmann, G. Bellot, Y. Ke and P. Yin (2017). "Programmable self-assembly of three-dimensional nanostructures from 10,000 unique components." Nature 552(7683): 72-77.

    Song, J., Z. Li, P. Wang, T. Meyer, C. Mao and Y. Ke (2017). "Reconfiguration of DNA molecular arrays driven by information relay." Science 357(6349): eaan3377.

    Wang, D., J. Song, P. Wang, V. Pan, Y. Zhang, D. Cui and Y. Ke (2018). "Design and operation of reconfigurable two-dimensional DNA molecular arrays." Nature protocols 5: 693.

Yonggang Ke

Biomedical Engineering Department
Emory University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA 30322

Email: yonggang.ke@emory.edu