Rapid Photoactuation of a DNA Nanostructure using an Internal Photocaged Trigger Strand

Minghui Liu, Shuoxing Jiang, Omar Loza, Nour Eddine Fahmi, Petr Sulc, Nicholas Stephanopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


A reconfigurable DNA nano-tweezer is reported that can be switched between a closed and open state with a brief pulse of UV light. In its initial state, the tweezer is held shut using a hairpin with a single-stranded poly-A loop. Also incorporated in the structure is a poly-T trigger strand bearing seven photocaged residues. Upon illumination with 365 nm light, the cages are removed and the trigger strand hybridizes to the loop, opening the tweezer and increasing the distance between its arms from 4 to 18 nm. This intramolecular process is roughly 60 times faster than adding an external trigger strand, and provides a mechanism for the rapid interconversion of DNA nanostructures with light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9341-9345
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 20 2018



  • biophysics
  • DNA nanotechnology
  • nanomachines
  • photoswitches
  • self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)

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