MrDNA: A multi-resolution model for predicting the structure and dynamics of DNA systems

Christopher Maffeo, Aleksei Aksimentiev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the field of structural DNA nanotechnology has been advancing with an astonishing pace, de novo design of complex 3D nanostructures and functional devices remains a laborious and time-consuming process. One reason for that is the need for multiple cycles of experimental characterization to elucidate the effect of design choices on the actual shape and function of the self-assembled objects. Here, we demonstrate a multi-resolution simulation framework, mrdna, that, in 30 min or less, can produce an atomistic-resolution structure of a self-assembled DNA nanosystem. We demonstrate fidelity of our mrdna framework through direct comparison of the simulation results with the results of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) reconstruction of multiple 3D DNA origami objects. Furthermore, we show that our approach can characterize an ensemble of conformations adopted by dynamic DNA nanostructures, the equilibrium structure and dynamics of DNA objects constructed using off-lattice self-assembly principles, i.e. wireframe DNA objects, and to study the properties of DNA objects under a variety of environmental conditions, such as applied electric field. Implemented as an open source Python package, our framework can be extended by the community and integrated with DNA design and molecular graphics tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5135-5146
Number of pages12
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 21 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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