Designing ordered nucleic acid self-assembly processes
A major goal of self-assembly research is the synthesis of biomolecular structures with diverse, intricate features across multiple length scales. Designing self-assembly processes becomes more difficult as the number of species or target structure size increases. Just as the ordered assembly of a machine or device makes complex manufacturing possible, ordered (or 'algorithmic') biomolecular self-assembly processes could enable the self-assembly of more complex structures. We discuss the design of ordered assembly processes with particular attention to DNA and RNA. The assembly of complexes can be ordered using selective, multivalent interactions or active components that change shape after assembly. The self-assembly of spatial gradients driven by reaction-diffusion can also be ordered. We conclude by considering topics for future research.
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Available online 28th March 2015. R.S. acknowledges grants NSF-CCF-1161941, a Turing Centenary Fellowship for support and DE-SC010595 for salary support in writing this article. D.D. acknowledges NSF grants CCF-1219274 and CCF-1162589 and the Molecular Programming Project under NSF Grant 1317694.