Long-range assembly of DNA into nanofibers and highly ordered networks using a block copolymer approach

J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Jan 20;132(2):679-85. doi: 10.1021/ja907735m.


A simple method to introduce the long-range order achieved by block copolymers into DNA structures is described. This results in the hierarchical assembly of short DNA strands into a new one-dimensional material, with high aspect ratio and the ability to further align into highly ordered surfaces over tens of micrometers. Fibers derived from biological materials have a wide range of potential applications, such as scaffolds for nanowires and one-dimensional (1D) materials, templates for tissue growth, and ligand display tools for multivalent biological interactions. Fibers derived from short DNA strands are an attractive class of materials, as they combine long-range 1D ordering with the programmability of DNA, and its ability to undergo structure switching with specifically added DNA strands. Here, we present the first examples of long fibers self-assembled from short (10-20 base-pairs), blunt-ended DNA strands. This was accomplished by covalently attaching a dendritic oligoethylene glycol (OEG) unit to a DNA strand to form a dendritic DNA molecule (D-DNA). Hybridization of this unit with complementary DNA creates a block copolymer/double-stranded DNA architecture, which readily undergoes self-assembly into long fibers upon the addition of a selective solvent. These fibers can further align into parallel rows, to yield highly ordered micrometer-sized surfaces. We demonstrate that a DNA nanotechnology motif, a three-helix DNA bundle, can also be readily induced to form long fibers upon incorporation of D-DNA. Thus, this provides a straightforward method to introduce hierarchical long-range ordering into DNA motifs, simply through hybridization with short D-DNA strands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemical synthesis
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Dendrimers / chemical synthesis
  • Dendrimers / chemistry
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nanofibers / chemistry*
  • Particle Size
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties


  • Dendrimers
  • Polymers
  • DNA