Sequence-specific recognition of DNA nanostructures

David A. Rusling, Keith R. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DNA is the most exploited biopolymer for the programmed self-assembly of objects and devices that exhibit nanoscale-sized features. One of the most useful properties of DNA nanostructures is their ability to be functionalized with additional non-nucleic acid components. The introduction of such a component is often achieved by attaching it to an oligonucleotide that is part of the nanostructure, or hybridizing it to single-stranded overhangs that extend beyond or above the nanostructure surface. However, restrictions in nanostructure design and/or the self-assembly process can limit the suitability of these procedures. An alternative strategy is to couple the component to a DNA recognition agent that is capable of binding to duplex sequences within the nanostructure. This offers the advantage that it requires little, if any, alteration to the nanostructure and can be achieved after structure assembly. In addition, since the molecular recognition of DNA can be controlled by varying pH and ionic conditions, such systems offer tunable properties that are distinct from simple Watson-Crick hybridization. Here, we describe methodology that has been used to exploit and characterize the sequence-specific recognition of DNA nanostructures, with the aim of generating functional assemblies for bionanotechnology and synthetic biology applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-133
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Early online date28 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2014


  • base sequence
  • cryoelectron microscopy
  • DNA/chemistry
  • DNA-binding proteins/chemistry
  • electrophoretic mobility Shift Assay
  • molecular sequence data
  • nanostructures/chemistry
  • nucleic acid conformation
  • protein binding
  • UKRI
  • BB/H019219/1


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