In Situ Covalent Functionalization of DNA Origami Virus-like Particles

ACS Nano. 2021 Sep 28;15(9):14316-14322. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.1c03158. Epub 2021 Sep 7.


DNA origami is a powerful nanomaterial for biomedical applications due in part to its capacity for programmable, site-specific functionalization. To realize these applications, scalable and efficient conjugation protocols are needed for diverse moieties ranging from small molecules to biomacromolecules. Currently, there are no facile and general methods for in situ covalent modification and label-free quantification of reaction conversion. Here, we investigate the postassembly functionalization of DNA origami and the subsequent high-performance liquid chromatography-based characterization of these nanomaterials. Following this approach, we developed a versatile DNA origami functionalization and characterization platform. We observed quantitative in situ conversion using widely accessible click chemistry for carbohydrates, small molecules, peptides, polymers, and proteins. This platform should provide broader access to covalently functionalized DNA origami, as illustrated here by PEGylation for passivation and HIV antigen decoration to construct virus-like particle vaccines.

Keywords: DNA nanotechnology; DNA origami; bioconjugation; click chemistry; nanoparticles; reaction characterization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • DNA* / chemistry
  • Nanostructures* / chemistry
  • Nanostructures* / ultrastructure
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation


  • DNA