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Revision as of 05:11, 28 October 2012
DNA is famously used in biology as information storage, and one of its most significant characteristic is stability. Previously, many DNA nanostructures have been designed that made use of this stability. However, although stability is a merit of DNA, many functions requires a form of variability of the device that perform them.
It has been recently discovered that DNA can also be used to perform dynamic functions in artificial systems. In this case, DNA somehow plays the role of RNA molecules in biology. DNA based dynamic circuits can be used to perform computations, to build clocks, to control processes, or to create updatable memories that store some bits of information. In these cases, however, DNA molecules need to be continuously rearranged by participating in chemical reactions. In some cases, they even need to be degraded for the function to occur.
Therefore, on one hand, DNA is a stable material used to build robust molecular shapes, and, on the other hand, it is a reactive participant of dynamic reaction networks. Can we bring back these two features together in order to get the best characteristic of both approaches ?
UT-Komaba team tries to illustrate the potentials of this approach by designing the DNA tablet, the smallest tablet computer on earth.
Inspired by tablet computers, we propose a DNA origami that can display alternative pictures or show a short molecular movie, which we call DNA tablet. Our approach combines DNA nanotechnology and DNA dynamic circuits. To demonstrate the unveiling of different images, we created a DNA origami with two latent designs and connected it with a dynamic network having two stable states. This bistability ensures that only one of the two images is displayed at a time, and no intermediate erroneous displays are produced.
The user can browse his library of images, by introducing a small amount of an image-specific tag sequence to switch the bistable system. The size of the library, currently two, could be extended by using a n-stable system to show n different pictures. Images on the DNA tablet are created by hybridization with the state-dependent products of the bistable network and can be observed by AFM. The DNA tablet can also be modified to cycle through several pictures autonomously by adapting it to a DNA oscillator.