Expanding the Toolbox of Photoswitches for DNA Nanotechnology Using Arylazopyrazoles

Volker Adam, Deepak K. Prusty, Mathias Centola, Marko Škugor, Jeffrey S. Hannam, Julian Valero Moreno, Bernhard Klôckner, Michael Famulok*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Photoregulation is among the most promising tools for development of dynamic DNA nanosystems, due to its high spatiotemporal precision, biocompatibility, and ease of use. So far, azobenzene and its derivatives have shown high potential in photocontrolling DNA duplex hybridization by light‐dependent photoisomerization. Despite many recent advances, obtaining sufficiently high photoswitching efficiency under conditions more suitable for work with DNA nanostructures are challenging. Here we introduce a pair of arylazopyrazoles as new photoswitches for efficient and reversible control of DNA hybridization achieved even at room temperature with a low number of required modifications. Their photophysical properties in the native state and in DNA strands result in near‐quantitative isomerization rates by irradiation with UV and orange light. To demonstrate the applicability of these photoswitches, we have successfully applied one of them to open and close a DNA hairpin by light at room temperature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Pages (from-to)1062-1066
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA
  • DNA nanotechnology
  • arylazopyrazole
  • hybridization control
  • photoswitching


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