A logic-gated nanorobot for targeted transport of molecular payloads

Science. 2012 Feb 17;335(6070):831-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1214081.


We describe an autonomous DNA nanorobot capable of transporting molecular payloads to cells, sensing cell surface inputs for conditional, triggered activation, and reconfiguring its structure for payload delivery. The device can be loaded with a variety of materials in a highly organized fashion and is controlled by an aptamer-encoded logic gate, enabling it to respond to a wide array of cues. We implemented several different logical AND gates and demonstrate their efficacy in selective regulation of nanorobot function. As a proof of principle, nanorobots loaded with combinations of antibody fragments were used in two different types of cell-signaling stimulation in tissue culture. Our prototype could inspire new designs with different selectivities and biologically active payloads for cell-targeting tasks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / immunology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA* / chemistry
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / immunology
  • Metal Nanoparticles
  • Mice
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanostructures*
  • Robotics*
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 3
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • CD33 protein, human
  • Cd33 protein, mouse
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 3
  • DNA