Nanoday Talk 3: Programming Functional Structured DNA Assemblies
Viral capsids and bacterial light-harvesting antennas are two remarkable macromolecular architectures designed through millions of years of natural selection. While genetic engineering offers one approach to re-engineering these highly evolved assemblies for societal purposes, bottom-up self-assembly of structured DNA architectures that can host functional guest molecules offers a complementary biosynthetic approach. Here, I will present our efforts to develop a computational framework to automatically “print” structured DNA assemblies of arbitrary 3D shape at the nanometer scale. Our approach includes atomic-level constraints on the positioning of guest molecules including lipids, peptides, enzymes, RNAs, and chromophores. Applications to the design of custom J-aggregate chromophore assemblies with highly efficient energy transfer rates characteristic of bacterial light-harvesting systems and viral capsids of arbitrary symmetry and size on the ten nanometer scale will be presented.