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Molecular Scale Architecture: Engineered Three- And Four-Way Junctions

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-02-20, 00:00 authored by Stephanie Wilkinson, Michael Diechtierow, R. August Estabrook, Falk Schmidt, Michael Hüben, Elmar Weinhold, Norbert O. Reich
Biomolecular self-assembly provides a basis for the bottom-up construction of useful and diverse nanoscale architectures. DNA is commonly used to create these assemblies and is often exploited as a lattice or an array. Although geometrically rigid and highly predictable, these sheets of repetitive constructs often lack the ability to be enzymatically manipulated or elongated by standard biochemical techniques. Here, we describe two approaches for the construction of position-controlled, molecular-scale, discrete, three- and four-way DNA junctions. The first approach for constructing these junctions relies on the use of nonmigrating cruciforms generated from synthetic oligonucleotides to which large, biologically generated, double-stranded DNA segments are enzymatically ligated. The second approach utilitizes the DNA methyltransferase-based SMILing (sequence-specific methyltransferase-induced labeling of DNA) method to site-specifically incorporate a biotin within biologically derived DNA. Streptavidin is then used to form junctions between unique DNA strands. The resultant assemblies have precise and predetermined connections with lengths that can be varied by enzymatic or hybridization techniques, or geometrically controlled with standard DNA functionalization methods. These junctions are positioned with single nucleotide resolution on large, micrometer-length templates. Both approaches generate DNA assemblies which are fully compatible with standard recombinant methods and thus provide a novel basis for nanoengineering applications.