New study of University of Jyvaskyla and Aalto University shows that nanostructures constructed of DNA molecules can be programmed to function as pH-responsive cargo carriers, paving the way towards functional drug-delivery vehicles.
Researchers from University of Jyväskylä and Aalto University in Finland have developed a customized DNA nanostructure that can perform a predefined task in human body-like conditions. To do so, the team built a capsule-like carrier that opens and closes according to the pH level of the surrounding solution. The nanocapsule can be loaded – or packed – with a variety of cargo, closed for delivery and opened again through a subtle pH increase.
The function of the DNA nanocapsule is based on pH-responsive DNA residues.
To make this happen, the team designed a capsule-like DNA origami structure functionalized with pH-responsive DNA strands. Such dynamic DNA nanodesigns are often controlled by the simple hydrogen-bonding of two complementary DNA sequences. Here, one half of the capsule was equipped with specific double-stranded DNA domains that could further form a DNA triple helix – in other words a helical structure comprised of three, not just two DNA molecules – by attaching to a suitable single-stranded DNA in the other half.