Self-assembly of DNA Nanomechanical Devices
Structural DNA nanotechnology is a rapidly emerging field with great potential for applications such as single molecule sensing, drug delivery, and manipulating molecular components. However, the functional scope of DNA nanotechnology is limited by an inability to design dynamic mechanical behavior such as complex motion, conformational dynamics, or force generation. A major focus of our lab is to develop nanomechanical devices by adapting methods used in macroscopic machine design and assembly. I will discuss our development DNA nanostructures with programmable 1D, 2D, and 3D motion as well as dynamic nanostructures with controlled conformational dynamics. We aim to develop devices where nanoscale dynamic behavior (i.e. motion, conformational distributions, and kinetics) can be exploited to probe physical properties or manipulate nanoscale components or molecular interactions in real time. I will present our recent work on implementing a DNA nanocalipers to study the structure and structural dynamics of nucleosomes, the fundamental packaging unit for genomic DNA in cell nuclei, which consist of DNA wrapped around a protein core.