Paranemic cohesion of topologically-closed DNA molecules

J Am Chem Soc. 2002 Nov 6;124(44):12940-1. doi: 10.1021/ja026973b.


Specific cohesion of DNA molecules is key to the success of work in biotechnology, DNA nanotechnology and DNA-based computation. The most common form of intermolecular cohesion between double helices is by sticky ends, but sticky ends generated by naturally occurring restriction enzymes may often be too short to bind large constructs together. An alternative form of binding is available through the paranemic crossover (PX) motif. Each of the two components of a PX motif can be a DNA dumbbell or other topologically closed species. Alternate half-turns of the dumbbell are paired intramolecularly. The intervening half-turns are paired with those of the opposite component. We demonstrate the efficacy of PX cohesion by showing that it can result in the 1:1 binding of two triangle motifs, each containing nearly 500 nucleotides. The cohesion goes to completion, demonstrating an alternative to binding nucleic acid molecules through sticky ends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation


  • DNA