ssDNA-amphiphile architecture used to control dimensions of DNA nanotubes

HH Kuang and TE Gartner and MD de Mello and J Guo and XB Zuo and M Tsapatsis and A Jayaraman and E Kokkoli, NANOSCALE, 11, 19850-19861 (2019).

DOI: 10.1039/c9nr03761f

Controlling the dimensions of DNA nanotubes is of great interest as they can be used in different applications ranging from functional elements in nanodevices to carriers for drug delivery. ssDNA-amphiphiles composed of a ssDNA headgroup, a hydrophobic dialkyl tail and a polycarbon spacer between the tail and the headgroup, self-assemble into hollow DNA nanotubes by forming bilayer nanotapes that transition from twisted nanotapes, to helical nanotapes, to nanotubes. The presence of the DNA nanotubes is verified via cryo-TEM and SAXS. We further explore the effect of the ssDNA secondary structure and tail length on the assembly of the ssDNA-amphiphiles. We demonstrate that the presence of intermolecular G-quadruplexes in the ssDNA sequence dictates the nanotube length. The nanotube diameter is controlled by the hydrophobic tail length, and coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations are employed to elucidate the tail design impact on assembly.

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