Self-assembly of metal-DNA triangles and DNA nanotubes with synthetic junctions

Methods Mol Biol. 2011;749:33-47. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-142-0_3.


The site-specific insertion of organic and inorganic molecules into DNA nanostructures can provide unique structural and functional capabilities. We have demonstrated the inclusion of two types of molecules. The first is a diphenylphenanthroline (dpp, 1) molecule that is site specifically inserted into DNA strands and which can be used as a template to create metal-coordinating pockets. These building blocks can then be used to assemble metal-DNA 2D and 3D structures, including metal-DNA triangles, described here. The second insertion is a triaryl molecule that provides geometric control in the preparation of 2D single-stranded DNA templates. These can be designed to further assemble into geometrically well-defined nanotubes. Here, we detail the steps involved in the construction of metal-DNA triangles and DNA nanotubes using these methods.

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Metals / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Nanotubes / chemistry*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Phenanthrolines / chemistry


  • Metals
  • Phenanthrolines
  • DNA