A revertible, autonomous, self-assembled DNA-origami nanoactuator

Nano Lett. 2011 Dec 14;11(12):5449-54. doi: 10.1021/nl203217m. Epub 2011 Nov 4.


A DNA-origami actuator capable of autonomous internal motion in accord to an external chemical signal was designed, built, operated and imaged. The functional DNA nanostructure consists of a disk connected to an external ring in two, diametrically opposite points. A single stranded DNA, named probe, was connected to two edges of the disk perpendicularly to the axis of constrain. In the presence of a hybridizing target molecule, the probe coiled into a double helix that stretched the inner disk forcing the edges to move toward each other. The addition of a third single stranded molecule that displaced the target from the probe restored the initial state of the origami. Operation, dimension and shape were carefully characterized by combining microscopy and fluorescence techniques.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA, Single-Stranded / chemistry
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Motion
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation


  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • DNA