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J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Apr 24;135(16):6165-76. doi: 10.1021/ja4000728. Epub 2013 Apr 12.

Mapping the thermal behavior of DNA origami nanostructures.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Center for Single Molecule Biophysics, Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, 1001 South McAllister Avenue, Tempe, Arizona 85287-5701, USA.


Understanding the thermodynamic properties of complex DNA nanostructures, including rationally designed two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D, respectively) DNA origami, facilitates more accurate spatiotemporal control and effective functionalization of the structures by other elements. In this work fluorescein and tetramethylrhodamine (TAMRA), a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) dye pair, were incorporated into selected staples within various 2D and 3D DNA origami structures. We monitored the temperature-dependent changes in FRET efficiency that occurred as the dye-labeled structures were annealed and melted and subsequently extracted information about the associative and dissociative behavior of the origami. In particular, we examined the effects of local and long-range structural defects (omitted staple strands) on the thermal stability of common DNA origami structures. The results revealed a significant decrease in thermal stability of the structures in the vicinity of the defects, in contrast to the negligible long-range effects that were observed. Furthermore, we probed the global assembly and disassembly processes by comparing the thermal behavior of the FRET pair at several different positions. We demonstrated that the staple strands located in different areas of the structure all exhibit highly cooperative hybridization but have distinguishable melting temperatures depending on their positions. This work underscores the importance of understanding fundamental aspects of the self-assembly of DNA nanostructures and can be used to guide the design of more complicated DNA nanostructures, to optimize annealing protocol and manipulate functionalized DNA nanostructures.

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