Self-Assembly of DNA Nanostructures in Different Cations

Arlin Rodriguez, Dhanush Gandavadi, Johnsi Mathivanan, Tingjie Song, Bharath Raj Madhanagopal, Hannah Talbot, Jia Sheng, Xing Wang, Arun Richard Chandrasekaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The programmable nature of DNA allows the construction of custom-designed static and dynamic nanostructures, and assembly conditions typically require high concentrations of magnesium ions that restricts their applications. In other solution conditions tested for DNA nanostructure assembly, only a limited set of divalent and monovalent ions are used so far (typically Mg2+ and Na+). Here, we investigate the assembly of DNA nanostructures in a wide variety of ions using nanostructures of different sizes: a double-crossover motif (76 bp), a three-point-star motif (~134 bp), a DNA tetrahedron (534 bp) and a DNA origami triangle (7221 bp). We show successful assembly of a majority of these structures in Ca2+, Ba2+, Na+, K+ and Li+ and provide quantified assembly yields using gel electrophoresis and visual confirmation of a DNA origami triangle using atomic force microscopy. We further show that structures assembled in monovalent ions (Na+, K+ and Li+) exhibit up to a 10-fold higher nuclease resistance compared to those assembled in divalent ions (Mg2+, Ca2+ and Ba2+). Our work presents new assembly conditions for a wide range of DNA nanostructures with enhanced biostability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2300040
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 27 2023


  • biostability
  • DNA nanostructures
  • DNA nanotechnology
  • metal ions
  • self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • General Materials Science
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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