Nature communications

Programmed folding of DNA origami structures through single-molecule force control.

PMID 25469474


Despite the recent development in the design of DNA origami, its folding yet relies on thermal or chemical annealing methods. We here demonstrate mechanical folding of the DNA origami structure via a pathway that has not been accessible to thermal annealing. Using magnetic tweezers, we stretch a single scaffold DNA with mechanical tension to remove its secondary structures, followed by base pairing of the stretched DNA with staple strands. When the force is subsequently quenched, folding of the DNA nanostructure is completed through displacement between the bound staple strands. Each process in the mechanical folding is well defined and free from kinetic traps, enabling us to complete folding within 10 min. We also demonstrate parallel folding of DNA nanostructures through multiplexed manipulation of the scaffold DNAs. Our results suggest a path towards programmability of the folding pathway of DNA nanostructures.