First Blueprint, Now Bricks: DNA is construction material on the nanoscale
Yamuna Krishnan, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

DNA has attractive physicochemical characteristics such as robust thermal and hydrolytic stability. The form of DNA described by Watson and Crick is a highly regular double-helix that behaves as a rigid rod on length scales upto ~50 nm. It also has a predictable and specific recognition mechanism that allows these rigid rods to be welded together by complementary base-pairing. Therefore DNA is now taking on a new aspect where it is finding use as a construction element for architecture on the nanoscale. This field is called structural DNA nanotechnology. I will describe the general principles of the field, followed by a few landmark examples that have set the paradigms. I will also describe approaches adopted by my lab which uses unusual forms of DNA in structural DNA nanotechnology to make chemically responsive DNA scaffolds. I will then go on to show the application of these chemically responsive DNA scaffolds in biological systems.

1. First Blueprint, Now Bricks: DNA as construction material on the nanoscale. Pitchiaya, S.; Krishnan, Y.*; Chem. Soc. Rev., 2006, 35, 1111-1121.

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