Metal-Mediated DNA Nanotechnology in 3D: Structural Library by Templated Diffraction

Simon Vecchioni, Brandon Lu, William Livernois, Yoel P. Ohayon, Jesse B. Yoder, Chu Fan Yang, Karol Woloszyn, William Bernfeld, M. P. Anantram, James W. Canary, Wayne A. Hendrickson, Lynn J. Rothschild, Chengde Mao, Shalom J. Wind, Nadrian C. Seeman, Ruojie Sha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DNA double helices containing metal-mediated DNA (mmDNA) base pairs are constructed from Ag+ and Hg2+ ions between pyrimidine:pyrimidine pairs with the promise of nanoelectronics. Rational design of mmDNA nanomaterials is impractical without a complete lexical and structural description. Here, the programmability of structural DNA nanotechnology toward its founding mission of self-assembling a diffraction platform for biomolecular structure determination is explored. The tensegrity triangle is employed to build a comprehensive structural library of mmDNA pairs via X-ray diffraction and generalized design rules for mmDNA construction are elucidated. Two binding modes are uncovered: N3-dominant, centrosymmetric pairs and major groove binders driven by 5-position ring modifications. Energy gap calculations show additional levels in the lowest unoccupied molecular orbitals (LUMO) of mmDNA structures, rendering them attractive molecular electronic candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2210938
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 20 2023


  • DNA nanotechnology
  • X-ray diffraction
  • metal base pairs
  • molecular electronics
  • nanomaterials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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