Reconfigurable DNA Origami Nanocapsule for pH-Controlled Encapsulation and Display of Cargo

Heini Ijäs, Iiris Hakaste, Boxuan Shen, Mauri A. Kostiainen, Veikko Linko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
161 Downloads (Pure)


DNA nanotechnology provides a toolbox for creating custom and precise nanostructures with nanometer-level accuracy. These nano-objects are often static by nature and serve as versatile templates for assembling various molecular components in a user-defined way. In addition to the static structures, the intrinsic programmability of DNA nanostructures allows the design of dynamic devices that can perform predefined tasks when triggered with external stimuli, such as drug delivery vehicles whose cargo display or release can be triggered with a specified physical or chemical cue in the biological environment. Here, we present a DNA origami nanocapsule that can be loaded with cargo and reversibly opened and closed by changing the pH of the surrounding solution. Moreover, the threshold pH value for opening/closing can be rationally designed. We characterize the reversible switching and a rapid opening of "pH-latch"-equipped nanocapsules using Förster resonance energy transfer. Furthermore, we demonstrate the full cycle of capsule loading, encapsulation, and displaying the payload using metal nanoparticles and functional enzymes as cargo mimics at physiologically relevant ion concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5959-5967
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • DNA nanotechnology
  • DNA origami
  • drug delivery
  • enzymes
  • Förster resonance energy transfer
  • nanoparticles
  • pH control

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  • Projects

    SYNVIRO: Synthetic Virology Toolbox for the Encapsulation of Therapeutic Polyelectrolytes (SYNVIRO)

    Julin, S., Kostiainen, M., Liu, Q., Välimäki, S., Korpi, A. & Ahmed, A.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Other research funding

    Protein Cage Directed Self-Assembly of Nanomaterials

    Ora, A., Kostiainen, M., Korpi, A., Damania, A. & Liljeström, V.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Other research funding

    Rationally designed molecular devices through nucleic acid nanotechnology

    Linko, V.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Other research funding



    Anna Rissanen (Manager)

    Aalto University

    Facility/equipment: Facility

  • Press / Media

    DNA folds into a smart nanocapsule for drug delivery

    Mauri Kostiainen, Veikko Linko & Boxuan Shen


    6 items of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Media appearance

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