The powerful and specific molecular-recognition system present in the base-pairing of DNA allows for the design of a plethora of nanostructures. In this work, the crystallization of a self-assembling three-dimensional B-DNA nanostructure is described. The DNA nanostructure consists of six single-stranded oligonucleotides that hybridize to form a three-dimensional tetrahedron of 80 kDa in molecular mass and 20 bp on each edge. Crystals of the tetrahedron have been successfully produced and characterized. These crystals may form the basis for an X-ray structure of the tetrahedron in the future. Nucleotide crystallography poses many challenges, leading to the fact that only 1352 X-ray structures of nucleic acids have been solved compared with more than 80,000 protein structures. In this work, the crystallization optimization for three-dimensional tetrahedra is also described, with the eventual goal of producing nanocrystals to overcome the radiation-damage obstacle by the use of free-electron laser technology in the future.
Keywords: DNA frameworks; DNA tetrahedron; nanostructures.