3D Hexagonal Arrangement of DNA Tensegrity Triangles

Brandon Lu, Simon Vecchioni, Yoel P. Ohayon, Ruojie Sha, Karol Woloszyn, Bena Yang, Chengde Mao, Nadrian C. Seeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tensegrity triangle motif utilizes Watson-Crick sticky end cohesion to self-assemble into a rhombohedral crystal lattice using complementary 5′-GA and 5′-TC sticky ends. Here, we report that using noncanonical 5′-AG and 5′-TC sticky ends in otherwise isomorphic tensegrity triangles results in crystal self-assembly in the P63 hexagonal space group as revealed by X-ray crystallography. In this structure, the DNA double helices bend at the crossover positions, a feature that was not observed in the original design. Instead of propagating linearly, the tilt between base pairs of each right-handed helix results in a left-handed superstructure along the screw axis, forming a microtubule-like structure composed of three double helices with an unbroken channel at the center. This hexagonal lattice has a cavity diameter of 11 nm and a unit cell volume of 886 000 Å3 - far larger than the rhombohedral counterpart (5 nm, 330 000 Å3).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16788-16793
Number of pages6
JournalACS nano
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 26 2021


  • DNA crystals
  • crystal packing
  • nanomaterials
  • self-assembly
  • sticky ends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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