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Towards G-wire design by understanding DNA self-assembly


Engineering of materials with various bio-nanoapplications can rely on robust self-assembly of DNA e.g., short, guanine-rich oligonucleotides can self-assemble to long nanostructures, G-wires. Their structural details and self-assembly mechanism are crucial for optimization of G-wire’s properties, however they are poorly understood.

Researchers from Slovenian NMR Centre, Department of Materials Chemistry (D10) and Jozef Stefan institute utilized nuclear magnetic resonance to reveal how chosen short, guanine-rich DNA oligonucleotide self-assemble into G-wires and thus obtained insights on behavior of these nanostructures at molecular level. Complementary methods, e.g., CD, DLS, AFM, SEM, TEM were used for further characterization of G-wires. The crucial step of revealed sophisticated self-assembly mechanism includes structural rearrangement of kinetically favored G-quadruplex building block into a thermodynamically preferred one. Unravelling mechanistic details enable them to guide G-wire self-assembly in a controlled manner. They showed that properties of resulting G-wires, i.e., length and thermal stability can be tailored by changing the type and consequently features of loop residues. MD simulations provide insight why loop residues with considerably different properties, i.e., hydrogen-bond affinity, stacking interactions, electronic effects and hydrophobicity extensively increase or decrease G-wire length. Their discoveries will have implication not only for DNA nanotechnology but also provide deeper understanding of fundamental properties of G-quadruplex aggregates with biological significance. Results were published in Nature Communications as a research article entitled ‘Understanding self-assembly at molecular level enables controlled design of DNA G-wires of different properties’.

For further information please contact: dasa.pavc(at), primoz.sket(at)

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