News Column

Reports Outline DNA Research Study Findings from University of Munich (Wireframe and Tensegrity DNA Nanostructures)

July 22, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly -- Investigators discuss new findings in DNA Research. According to news reporting from Munich, Germany, by NewsRx journalists, research stated, "CONSPECTUS: Not only can triangulated wireframe network and tensegrity design be found in architecture, but it is also essential for the stability and organization of biological matter. Whether the scaffolding material is metal as in Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes and Kenneth Snelson's floating compression sculptures or proteins like actin or spectrin making up the cytoskeleton of biological cells, wireframe and tensegrity construction can provide great stability while minimizing the material required."

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from the University of Munich, "Given the mechanical properties of single- and double-stranded DNA, it is not surprising to find many variants of wireframe and tensegrity constructions in the emerging field of DNA nanotechnology, in which structures of almost arbitrary shape can be built with nanometer precision. The success of DNA self-assembly relies on the well-controlled hybridization of complementary DNA strands. Consequently, understanding the fundamental physical properties of these molecules is essential. Many experiments have shown that double-stranded DNA (in its most commonly occurring helical form, the B-form) behaves in a first approximation like a relatively stiff cylindrical beam with a persistence length of many times the length of its building blocks, the base pairs. However, it is harder to assign a persistence length to single-stranded DNA. Here, normally the Kuhn length is given, a measure that describes the length of individual rigid segments in a freely jointed chain. This length is on the order of a few nucleotides. Two immediate and important consequences arise from this high flexibility: single-stranded DNA is almost always present in a coiled conformation, and it behaves, just like all flexible polymers in solution, as an entropic spring. In this Account, we review the relation between the mechanical properties of DNA and design considerations for wireframe and tensegrity structures built from DNA. We illustrate various aspects of the successful evolution of DNA nanotechnology starting with the construction of four-way junctions and then allude to simple geometric objects such as the wireframe cube presented by Nadrian Seeman along with a variety of triangulated wireframe constructions. We examine DNA tensegrity triangles that self-assemble into crystals with sizes of several hundred micrometers as well as prestressed DNA origami tensegrity architecture, which uses single-stranded DNA with its entropic spring behavior as tension bearing components to organize stiff multihelix bundles in three dimensions. Finally, we discuss emerging applications of the aforementioned design principles in diverse fields such as diagnostics, drug delivery, or crystallography."

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "Despite great advances in related research fields like protein and RNA engineering, DNA self-assembly is currently the most accessible technique to organize matter on the nanoscale, and we expect many more exciting applications to emerge."

For more information on this research see: Wireframe and Tensegrity DNA Nanostructures. Accounts of Chemical Research, 2014;47(6):1691-1699. Accounts of Chemical Research can be contacted at: Amer Chemical Soc, 1155 16TH St, NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA. (American Chemical Society -; Accounts of Chemical Research -

Our news journalists report that additional information may be obtained by contacting S.S. Simmel, University of Munich, Center Nanosci, D-80539 Munich, Germany. Additional authors for this research include P.C. Nickels and T. Liedl (see also DNA Research).

Keywords for this news article include: Munich, Europe, Germany, DNA Research, Nanostructural, Nanostructures, Nanotechnology, Emerging Technologies

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC

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Source: Life Science Weekly

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