Press Releases

DATE2023.08.24 #Press Releases

Metal ions could drive DNA molecular machines


Researchers succeeded in using metal ions as a stimulus to displace DNA strands, helping create a DNA molecular machine.


Aug 24, 2023 


Double-helix-shaped DNA is the molecule of life. DNA nanotechnology provides a toolbox to create artificial nanodevices consisting of DNA. Potential applications of such DNA nanostructures include biosensing and drug delivery. Those nanodevice systems involve DNA strand displacement reactions in which DNA double strands recombine with an input of a single-stranded DNA.

The University of Tokyo researchers employed metal ions as a chemical signal that can induce DNA strand displacement. They also developed metal-responsive DNA tweezers which have two arms that can take closed or open forms. Furthermore, they strategically developed a metal-responsive DNA enzyme whose catalytic activity can be regulated by adding or removing metal ions. Researchers say the findings will help develop DNA molecular machines driven by metal ions and DNA-based computing systems using metal ions as input signals.


Figure. DNA strand displacement reaction triggered by the addition of metal ions (GdIII)


For more details, please read the article: 

Yusuke Takezawa, Keita Mori, Wei-En Huang, Kotaro Nishiyama, Tong Xing, Takahiro Nakama & Mitsuhiko Shionoya. 2023. Metal-mediated DNA strand displacement and molecular device operations based on base-pair switching of 5-hydroxyuracil nucleobases. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-40353-3