Technological watch

Mechanical DNA Origami to Investigate Biological Systems

Scaffolded DNA origami is a robust technique for assembling dynamic nanostructures composed of DNA. The most recent advances in DNA origami applications to measure as well as to exert forces on both biomolecules and living cells are summarized in this review. The latest methods of mechanical actuation, stable interaction with target molecules, and force probing are covered.The ability to self?assemble DNA nanodevices with programmed structural dynamics that can sense and respond to the local environment can enable transformative applications in fields including mechanobiology and nanomedicine. The responsive function of biomolecules is often driven by alterations in conformational distributions mediated by highly sensitive interactions with the local environment. In this review, the current state?of?the?art in constructing complex DNA geometries with dynamic and mechanical properties to enable a molecular scale force measurement is first summarized. Next, an overview of engineering modular DNA devices that interact with cell surfaces is highlighted detailing examples of mechanosensitive proteins and the force?induced dynamic molecular interaction on the downstream biochemical signaling. Finally, the challenges and an outlook on this promising class of DNA devices acting as nanomachines to operate at a low piconewton range suitable for a majority of biological effects or as hybrid materials to achieve higher tension exertion required for other biological investigations, are discussed.

Publication date: 13/12/2022

CNR (Artículos)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.