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Published April 14, 2009 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

An information-bearing seed for nucleating algorithmic self-assembly


Self-assembly creates natural mineral, chemical, and biological structures of great complexity. Often, the same starting materials have the potential to form an infinite variety of distinct structures; information in a seed molecule can determine which form is grown as well as where and when. These phenomena can be exploited to program the growth of complex supramolecular structures, as demonstrated by the algorithmic self-assembly of DNA tiles. However, the lack of effective seeds has limited the reliability and yield of algorithmic crystals. Here, we present a programmable DNA origami seed that can display up to 32 distinct binding sites and demonstrate the use of seeds to nucleate three types of algorithmic crystals. In the simplest case, the starting materials are a set of tiles that can form crystalline ribbons of any width; the seed directs assembly of a chosen width with >90% yield. Increased structural diversity is obtained by using tiles that copy a binary string from layer to layer; the seed specifies the initial string and triggers growth under near-optimal conditions where the bit copying error rate is <0.2%. Increased structural complexity is achieved by using tiles that generate a binary counting pattern; the seed specifies the initial value for the counter. Self-assembly proceeds in a one-pot annealing reaction involving up to 300 DNA strands containing >17 kb of sequence information. In sum, this work demonstrates how DNA origami seeds enable the easy, high-yield, low-error-rate growth of algorithmic crystals as a route toward programmable bottom-up fabrication.

Additional Information

© 2009 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Freely available online through the PNAS open access option. Edited by David Baker, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, and approved January 7, 2009 (received for review September 4, 2008). This work was supported by National Aeronautics and Space Administration Astrobiology Grant NNG06GA50G and National Science Foundation Grants CCF-0432193, -0523761, -0622254, and -0832824; the Focus Center Research Program– Center on Functional Engineered Nano Architectonics Theme 2; and a gift from Microsoft Research.

Attached Files

Published - Barish2009p2044P_Natl_Acad_Sci_Usa.pdf

Supplemental Material - SUPP1_Barish2009p2044P_Natl_Acad_Sci_Usa.pdf

Supplemental Material - SUPP2_Barish2009p2044P_Natl_Acad_Sci_Usa.pdf


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