Programmed Self-Assembly of DNA Nanosheets with Discrete Single-Molecule Thickness and Interfacial Mechanics: Design, Simulation, and Characterization

K Cervantes-Salguero and YAG Fosado and W Megone and JE Gautrot and M Palma, MOLECULES, 28, 3686 (2023).

DOI: 10.3390/molecules28093686

DNA is programmed to hierarchically self-assemble into superstructures spanning from nanometer to micrometer scales. Here, we demonstrate DNA nanosheets assembled out of a rationally designed flexible DNA unit (F-unit), whose shape resembles a Feynman diagram. F-units were designed to self-assemble in two dimensions and to display a high DNA density of hydrophobic moieties. oxDNA simulations confirmed the planarity of the F-unit. DNA nanosheets with a thickness of a single DNA duplex layer and with large coverage (at least 30 mu m x 30 mu m) were assembled from the liquid phase at the solid/liquid interface, as unambiguously evidenced by atomic force microscopy imaging. Interestingly, single-layer nanodiscs formed in solution at low DNA concentrations. DNA nanosheet superstructures were further assembled at liquid/liquid interfaces, as demonstrated by the fluorescence of a double-stranded DNA intercalator. Moreover, the interfacial mechanical properties of the nanosheet superstructures were measured as a response to temperature changes, demonstrating the control of interfacial shear mechanics based on DNA nanostructure engineering. The rational design of the F-unit, along with the presented results, provide an avenue toward the controlled assembly of reconfigurable/responsive nanosheets and membranes at liquid/liquid interfaces, to be potentially used in the characterization of biomechanical processes and materials transport.

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