Gold nanocrystal-mediated sliding of doublet DNA origami filaments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Maximilian J. Urban
  • Steffen Both
  • Anton Kuzyk
  • Klas Lindfors
  • Thomas Weiss
  • Na Liu

Research units

  • Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
  • Heidelberg University 
  • University of Stuttgart
  • University of Cologne


Sliding is one of the fundamental mechanical movements in machinery. In macroscopic systems, double-rack pinion machines employ gears to slide two linear tracks along opposite directions. In microscopic systems, kinesin-5 proteins crosslink and slide apart antiparallel microtubules, promoting spindle bipolarity and elongation during mitosis. Here we demonstrate an artificial nanoscopic analog, in which gold nanocrystals can mediate coordinated sliding of two antiparallel DNA origami filaments powered by DNA fuels. Stepwise and reversible sliding along opposite directions is in situ monitored and confirmed using fluorescence spectroscopy. A theoretical model including different energy transfer mechanisms is developed to understand the observed fluorescence dynamics. We further show that such sliding can also take place in the presence of multiple DNA sidelocks that are introduced to inhibit the relative movements. Our work enriches the toolbox of DNA-based nanomachinery, taking one step further toward the vision of molecular nanofactories.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1454
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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