Biomod/2013/BU/introduction

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Boston University

BIOMOD 2013 Design Competition

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Introduction


Background


In their publication, Encapsulation of Gold Nanoparticles in a DNA Origami Cage, Zhao Zhao, Erica Jacovetty, Yan Liu, and Hao Yan demonstrate how to create a rectangular box with a cavity using the bottom-up self-assembly properties of DNA origami. In this particular study, this structure is used to encapsulate gold nanoparticles. This structure allows the surface of the nanoparticles to be tagged with a a controlled number of unique molecules and to control the orientation and intermolecular distance between the nanoparticles. It is stated that a significant advantage in using DNA origami is the spatial resolution of binding sites, on the order of ~6nm, that can be achieved. This structure exhibits a relatively high folding yield and was also found to be fairly robust, withstanding moderate mechanical strain from large nanoparticles placed in the cavity.

Beyond this particular structure, DNA origami has a number of inherent advantages over other types of nanoparticles used for similar applications. Currently there exists no equivalent technology capable of making a seemingly infinite number of arbitrary shapes like one can with DNA nanotechnology. Additionally, the surfaces of these structures can be functionalized simply by extending oligonucleotides and capping the oligonucleotides with a complimentary sequence bound to a functional polymer.