Synthesis from DNA of a molecule with the connectivity of a cube

Nature. 1991 Apr 18;350(6319):631-3. doi: 10.1038/350631a0.


A principal goal of biotechnology is the assembly of novel biomaterials for analytical, industrial and therapeutic purposes. The advent of stable immobile nucleic acid branched junctions makes DNA a good candidate for building frameworks to which proteins or other functional molecules can be attached and thereby juxtaposed. The addition of single-stranded 'sticky' ends to branched DNA molecules converts them into macromolecular valence clusters that can be ligated together. The edges of these frameworks are double-helical DNA, and the vertices correspond to the branch points of junctions. Here, we report the construction from DNA of a covalently closed cube-like molecular complex containing twelve equal-length double-helical edges arranged about eight vertices. Each of the six 'faces' of the object is a single-stranded cyclic molecule, doubly catenated to four neighbouring strands, and each vertex is connected by an edge to three others. Each edge contains a unique restriction site for analytical purposes. This is the first construction of a closed polyhedral object from DNA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / chemical synthesis*
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / genetics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Software


  • DNA