Facile construction of a DNA tetrahedron in unconventional ladder-like arrangements at room temperature

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1240-1248
Journal / PublicationNanoscale Advances
Issue number3
Online published27 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019



A DNA tetrahedron as the most classical and simplest three-dimensional DNA nanostructure has been widely utilized in biomedicine and biosensing. However, the existing assembly approaches usually require harsh thermal annealing conditions, involve the formation of unwanted by-products, and have poor size control. Herein, a facile strategy to fabricate a discrete DNA tetrahedron as a single, thermodynamically stable product in a quantitative yield at room temperature is reported. This system does not require a DNA trigger or thermal annealing treatment to initiate self-assembly. This DNA tetrahedron was made of three chemically ligated triangular-shaped DNAs in unconventional ladder-like arrangements, with measured heights of ∼4.16 ± 0.04 nm, showing extra protections for enzymatic degradation in biological environment. They show substantial cellular uptake in different cell lines via temperature, energy-dependent and clathrin-mediated endocytosis pathways. These characteristics allow our DNA tetrahedron to be used as vehicles for the delivery of very small and temperature-sensitive cargos. This novel assembly strategy developed for DNA tetrahedra could potentially be extended to other highly complex polyhedra; this indicated its generalizability.

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