Regeneration of Burnt Bridges on a DNA Catenane Walker

Julián Valero*, Michael Famulok

*Corresponding author for this work

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

1 Citation (Scopus)


DNA walkers are molecular machines that can move with high precision onthe nanoscale due to their structural and functional programmability. Despite recent advances in the field that allow exploring different energy sources, stimuli, and mechanisms of action for these nanomachines, the continuous operation and reusability of DNA walkers remains challenging because in most cases the steps, once taken by the walker, cannot be taken again. Herein we report the path regeneration of a burnt-bridges DNA catenane walker using RNase A. This walker uses a T7RNA polymerase that produces long RNA transcripts to hybridize to the path and move forward while the RNA remains hybridized to the path and blocks it for an additional walking cycle. We show that RNA degradation triggered by RNase A restores the path and returns the walker to the initial position. RNase inhibition restarts the function of the walker.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Pages (from-to)16366-16370
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • biohybrids
  • DNA catenane walkers
  • DNA nanotechnology
  • molecular machines


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