Sturdier DNA nanotubes via ligation

Nano Lett. 2006 Jul;6(7):1379-83. doi: 10.1021/nl0603505.


DNA nanotubes are crystalline self-assemblies of DNA tiles approximately 10 nm in diameter that readily grow tens of micrometers in length. Easy assembly, programmability, and stiffness make them interesting for many applications, but DNA nanotubes begin to melt at temperatures below 40 degrees C, break open when deposited on mica or scanned by AFM, and disintegrate in deionized water. These weaknesses can be traced to the presence of discontinuities in the phosphate backbone, called nicks. The nanotubes studied here have five nicks, one in the core of a tile and one at each corner. We report the successful ligation of all four corner nicks by T4 DNA ligase. Although ligation does not change the nanotubes' stiffness, ligated nanotubes withstand temperatures over 70 degrees C, resist breaking during AFM, and are stable in pure water for over a month. Ligated DNA nanotubes are thus physically and chemically sturdy enough to withstand the manipulations necessary for many technological applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum Silicates / chemistry
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA Ligases / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nanotubes / chemistry*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Surface Properties


  • Aluminum Silicates
  • DNA
  • DNA Ligases
  • mica