Self-assembly of three-dimensional DNA nanostructures and potential biological applications

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2010 Oct;14(5):597-607. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2010.08.002. Epub 2010 Sep 24.


A current challenge in nanoscience is to achieve controlled organization in three-dimensions, to provide tools for biophysics, molecular sensors, enzymatic cascades, drug delivery, tissue engineering, and device fabrication. DNA displays some of the most predictable and programmable interactions of any molecule, natural or synthetic. As a result, 3D-DNA nanostructures have emerged as promising tools for biology and materials science. In this review, strategies for 3D-DNA assembly are discussed. DNA cages, nanotubes, dendritic networks, and crystals are formed, with deliberate variation of their size, shape, persistence length, and porosities. They can exhibit dynamic character, allowing their selective switching with external stimuli. They can encapsulate and position materials into arbitrarily designed patterns, and show promise for numerous biological and materials applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biology / methods*
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanotubes / chemistry
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*


  • DNA