Simple design for DNA nanotubes from a minimal set of unmodified strands: rapid, room-temperature assembly and readily tunable structure

ACS Nano. 2013 Apr 23;7(4):3022-8. doi: 10.1021/nn4006329. Epub 2013 Mar 19.


DNA nanotubes have great potential as nanoscale scaffolds for the organization of materials and the templation of nanowires and as drug delivery vehicles. Current methods for making DNA nanotubes either rely on a tile-based step-growth polymerization mechanism or use a large number of component strands and long annealing times. Step-growth polymerization gives little control over length, is sensitive to stoichiometry, and is slow to generate long products. Here, we present a design strategy for DNA nanotubes that uses an alternative, more controlled growth mechanism, while using just five unmodified component strands and a long enzymatically produced backbone. These tubes form rapidly at room temperature and have numerous, orthogonal sites available for the programmable incorporation of arrays of cargo along their length. As a proof-of-concept, cyanine dyes were organized into two distinct patterns by inclusion into these DNA nanotubes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Crystallization / methods
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / ultrastructure*
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Materials Testing
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanocapsules / chemistry*
  • Nanocapsules / ultrastructure*
  • Nanotubes / chemistry*
  • Nanotubes / ultrastructure*
  • Particle Size
  • Porosity
  • Surface Properties
  • Temperature


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Nanocapsules
  • DNA