Optically Responsive Protein Coating of DNA Origami for Triggered Antigen Targeting

Iris Seitz, Heini Ijäs, Veikko Linko*, Mauri A. Kostiainen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
111 Downloads (Pure)


DNA nanostructures have emerged as modular building blocks in several research fields including biomedicine and nanofabrication. Their proneness to degradation in various environments has led to the development of a variety of nature-inspired protection strategies. Coating of DNA origami nanostructures with proteins can circumvent degradation and alter their properties. Here, we have used a single-chain variable antibody fragment and serum albumin to construct positively charged and stimuli-responsive protein-dendron conjugates, which were complexed with DNA origami through electrostatic interactions. Using a stepwise assembly approach, the coated nanostructures were studied for their interaction with the corresponding antigen in fluorescence-based immunoassays. The results suggest that the antibody-antigen interaction can be disturbed by the addition of the bulky serum albumin. However, this effect is fully reversible upon irradiation of the structures with an optical stimulus. This leads to a selective dissociation of the serum albumin from the nanostructure due to cleavage of a photolabile group integrated in the dendron structure, exposing the antibody fragment and enabling triggered binding to the antigen, demonstrating that serum albumin can be considered as an externally controlled "camouflaging" agent. The presented stimuli-responsive complexation approach is highly versatile regarding the choice of protein components and could, therefore, find use in DNA origami protection, targeting, and delivery as well as their spatiotemporal control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38515–38524
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number34
Early online date19 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • antigen targeting
  • DNA nanotechnology
  • electrostatic binding
  • photoresponsiveness
  • protein coating


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