Coordinating functional parts to operate in concert is essential for machinery. In gear trains, meshed gears are compactly interlocked, working together to impose rotation or translation. In photosynthetic systems, a variety of biological entities in the thylakoid membrane interact with each other, converting light energy into chemical energy. However, coordinating individual parts to carry out regulated and coordinated motion within an artificial nanoarchitecture poses challenges, owing to the requisite control on the nanoscale. Here, we demonstrate DNA-directed nanosystems, which comprise hierarchically-assembled DNA origami filaments, fluorophores, and gold nanocrystals. These individual building blocks can execute independent, synchronous, or joint motion upon external inputs. These are optically monitored in situ using fluorescence spectroscopy, taking advantage of the sensitive distance-dependent interactions between the gold nanocrystals and fluorophores positioned on the DNA origami. Our work leverages the complexity of DNA-based artificial nanosystems with tailored dynamic functionality, representing a viable route towards technomimetic nanomachinery.
Zhan, P., Urban, M. J., Both, S., Duan, X., Kuzyk, A., Weiss, T., & Liu, N. (2019). DNA-assembled nanoarchitectures with multiple components in regulated and coordinated motion. Science Advances, 5(11), [eaax6023]. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aax6023