Making Engineered 3D DNA Crystals Robust

Zhe Li, Longfei Liu, Mengxi Zheng, Jiemin Zhao, Nadrian C. Seeman, Chengde Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Engineered 3D DNA crystals are promising scaffolds for bottom-up construction of three-dimensional, macroscopic devices from the molecular level. Nevertheless, this has been hindered by the highly constrained conditions for DNA crystals to be stable. Here we report a method to prepare robust 3D DNA crystals by postassembly ligation to remove this constraint. Specifically, sticky ends at crystal contacts were enzymatically ligated, and the covalent bonds significantly enhanced crystal stability, e.g., being stable at 65 °C. This method also enabled the fabrication of DNA crystals with complex architectures including crystal shell, core-shell, and matryoshka dolls. Furthermore, we have demonstrated the applications of the robust DNA crystals in biocatalysis and protein entrapment. Our study removes one key obstacle for the applications of DNA crystals and offers many new opportunities in DNA nanotechnology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15850-15855
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 9 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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