Dynamic chemistry of disulfide terminated oligonucleotides in duplexes and double-crossover tiles

Mattia De Stefano, Kurt Vesterager Gothelf

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Designed nanostructures formed by self-assembly of multiple DNA strands suffer from low stability at elevated temperature and under other denaturing conditions. Here, we propose a method for covalent coupling of DNA strands in such structures by the formation of disulfide bonds; this allows disassembly of the structure under reducing conditions. The dynamic chemistry of disulfides and thiols was applied to crosslink DNA strands with terminal disulfide modifications. The formation of disulfide-linked DNA duplexes consisting of three strands is demonstrated, as well as a more-complex DNA double-crossover tile. All the strands in the fully disulfide-linked structures are covalently and geometrically interlocked, and it is demonstrated that the structures are stable under heating and in the presence of denaturants. Such a reversible system can be exploited in applications where higher DNA stability is needed only temporarily, such as delivery of cargoes to cells by DNA nanostructures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1122-1126
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2016


  • DNA structures
  • disulfides
  • dynamic combinatorial chemistry
  • nucleic acids
  • reduction


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