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Science. 2012 Nov 16;338(6109):932-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1225624.

Synthetic lipid membrane channels formed by designed DNA nanostructures.

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  • 1Lehrstuhl für Bioelektronik, Physics Department and ZNN/WSI, Technische Universität München, 85748 Garching, Germany.


We created nanometer-scale transmembrane channels in lipid bilayers by means of self-assembled DNA-based nanostructures. Scaffolded DNA origami was used to create a stem that penetrated and spanned a lipid membrane, as well as a barrel-shaped cap that adhered to the membrane, in part via 26 cholesterol moieties. In single-channel electrophysiological measurements, we found similarities to the response of natural ion channels, such as conductances on the order of 1 nanosiemens and channel gating. More pronounced gating was seen for mutations in which a single DNA strand of the stem protruded into the channel. Single-molecule translocation experiments show that the synthetic channels can be used to discriminate single DNA molecules.

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