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Molecular Precision at Micrometer Length Scales: Hierarchical Assembly of DNA-Protein Nanostructures



Daniel R. Schiffels, Veronika A. Szalai, James A. Liddle


Robust self-assembly across length scales is a ubiquitous feature of biological systems, but remains challenging for synthetic structures. Taking a cue from biology – where disparate molecules work together to produce large, functional assemblies – we demonstrate how to engineer microscale structures with nanoscale features: DNA polymerase controllably creates double-stranded DNA sections on a single-stranded template, which is then folded into a mechanically flexible skeleton by DNA origami. This process simultaneously shapes the structure at the nanoscale and directs the large scale geometry. This DNA skeleton guides the assembly of RecA protein filaments, which provides rigidity at the micrometer scale. We use our modular design strategy to assemble tetrahedral, rectangular and linear shapes of defined dimensions. This method enables the robust construction of complex assemblies, greatly extending the range of DNA-based self-assembly methods.
ACS Nano


Nanotechnology, Self-Assembly, DNA, Protein


Schiffels, D. , Szalai, V. and Liddle, J. (2017), Molecular Precision at Micrometer Length Scales: Hierarchical Assembly of DNA-Protein Nanostructures, ACS Nano, [online], (Accessed June 23, 2024)


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Created June 26, 2017, Updated November 10, 2018