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© Image 2015 tilibit nanosystems

DNA Origami Shapes
DNA is a well-understood material that is suitable for creating scaffolds that hold other molecules in place or to create structures all on its own. DNA origami is the nanoscale folding of DNA to create non-arbitrary two- and three-dimensional shapes at the nanoscale. All one needs to do is to program the right sequence of DNA bases. This can be done by 3D modelling software, that calculates the right order of DNA basepairs which one then prints out. 

Depending on the sequence, DNA folds itself to interesting structures. You can also combine various corners, circles etc., change their endings and by this create a structre. You can for example build a DNA Container, that is capable of transporting medicine to e.g. tumor cells and open itself there.

Possible Applications

Many potential applications have been suggested in literature, including enzyme immobilization, drug carry capsules, and nanotechnological self-assembly of materials

The followings list some of the reported applications conducted in the laboratories with clinical potential.

  • Self-assembling and self-destructing drug delivery vessels using the DNA origami: The DNA nanorobot created is an open DNA tube with a hinge on one side which can be clasped shut. Once the origami nanobots get to the infected cells, the aptamers break apart and release the drug. Learn more…
  • DNA origami delivery vehicle for Doxorubicin, a well-known anti-cancer drug: The drug was non-covalently attached to DNA origami nanostructures through intercalation and a high drug load was achieved. The complex was taken up by human breast cancer cells via cellular internalization with much higher efficiency than doxorubicin in free form. The scientists theorized that the doxorubicin-loaded DNA origami inhibits lysosomal acidification, resulting in cellular redistribution of the drug to action sites, thus increasing the cytotoxicity against the tumor cells. Learn more and even more.
  • Small multi-switchable 3D DNA Box Origami: The constructed box was shown to have a unique reclosing mechanism, which enabled it to repeatedly open and close in response to a unique set of DNA or RNA keys. The authors proposed that this "DNA device can potentially be used for a broad range of applications such as controlling the function of single molecules, controlled drug delivery, and molecular computing." Learn more…
  • Nanorobots demonstrated computing capacities and completed pre-programmed task inside the living organism: As a proof of concept, the team injected various kinds of nanobots (the curled DNA encasing molecules with fluorescent markers) into live cockroaches. By tracking the markers inside the cockroaches, the team found the accuracy of delivery of the molecules (released by the uncurled DNA) in target cells, the interactions among the nanobots and the control are equivalent to a computer system. The complexity of the logic operations, the decisions and actions, increases with the increased number of nanobots. The team estimated that the computing power in the cockroach can be scaled up to that of an 8-bit computer. Learn more and even more.
  • Mimicking the envelope of a virus particle: DNA is folded into an octahedron and coated with a single bilayer of phospholipid. The DNA nanoparticles, each at about the size of a virion, are able to remain in circulation for hours after injected into mice. It also elicits much lower immune response than the uncoated particles. It presents a potential use in drug delivery. Learn more and even more

© Text 2017 Wikipedia

Order DNA Nano Structures online

The Tilibit GmbH from Munich offers custom and standardized DNA Origami fragments in their onlineshop. 

Research Institutes


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About the authors

View full profile Jérôme Lutz from Berlin & Munich, Germany

I like to share the great things I discover daily while researching and working in the field of Synthetic Biology.

When I talk to people about it, they often refer to Science Fiction. However, when I send them links to this wiki and they read through those pages, they start understanding that this is real and it's happening right now.

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