DNA Droplets: Intelligent, Dynamic Fluid
H Udono and J Gong and Y Sato and M Takinoue, ADVANCED BIOLOGY (2022).
Breathtaking advances in DNA nanotechnology have established DNA as a promising biomaterial for the fabrication of programmable higher-order nano/microstructures. In the context of developing artificial cells and tissues, DNA droplets have emerged as a powerful platform for creating intelligent, dynamic cell-like machinery. DNA droplets are a microscale membrane-free coacervate of DNA formed through phase separation. This new type of DNA system couples dynamic fluid-like property with long- established DNA programmability. This hybrid nature offers an advantageous route to facile and robust control over the structures, functions, and behaviors of DNA droplets. This review begins by describing programmable DNA condensation, commenting on the physical properties and fabrication strategies of DNA hydrogels and droplets. By presenting an overview of the development pathways leading to DNA droplets, it is shown that DNA technology has evolved from static, rigid systems to soft, dynamic systems. Next, the basic characteristics of DNA droplets are described as intelligent, dynamic fluid by showcasing the latest examples highlighting their distinctive features related to sequence-specific interactions and programmable mechanical properties. Finally, this review discusses the potential and challenges of numerical modeling able to connect a robust link between individual sequences and macroscopic mechanical properties of DNA droplets.
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