The aim of our project is the construction of an autonomous micrometer-sized molecular robot. We designed and constructed a micrometer-sized molecular robot, “DNA ciliate”, named after water microorganisms, ciliate. The DNA ciliate has three independent functional modes (see the left figure): free moving mode, track walking mode, and light-irradiated gathering mode.
The DNA ciliate consists of a micrometer-sized body and cilia. The micrometer-sized body is made of a microsphere such as a polystyrene microbead, a glass microbead, etc. The cilia are made of deoxyribozymes (single-stranded DNAs with cleaving activity). In the free moving mode, the DNA ciliate move around in a broad space based on the Brownian motion. In addition, the DNA ciliate can walk along a single-stranded DNA track using the deoxyribozyme activity. The DNA ciliate can be gathered up at a UV-irradiated area. The construction of the DNA ciliate is shown in detail below.