The effects of overhang placement and multivalency on cell labeling by DNA origami†
Through targeted binding to the cell membrane, structural DNA nanotechnology has the potential to guide and affix biomolecules such as drugs, growth factors and nanobiosensors to the surfaces of cells. In this study, we investigated the targeted binding efficiency of three distinct DNA origami shapes to cultured endothelial cells via cholesterol anchors. Our results showed that the labeling efficiency is highly dependent on the shape of the origami as well as the number and the location of the binding overhangs. With a uniform surface spacing of binding overhangs, 3D isotropic nanospheres and 1D anisotropic nanorods labeled cells effectively, and the isotropic nanosphere labeling fit well with an independent binding model. Face-decoration and edge-decoration of the anisotropic nanotile were performed to investigate the effects of binding overhang location on cell labeling, and only the edge-decorated nanotiles were successful at labeling cells. Edge proximity studies demonstrated that the labeling efficiency can be modulated in both nanotiles and nanorods by moving the binding overhangs towards the edges and vertices, respectively. Furthermore, we demonstrated that while double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) bridge tethers can rescue the labeling efficiency of the face-decorated rectangular plate, this effect is also dependent on the proximity of bridge tethers to the edges or vertices of the nanostructures. A final comparison of all three nanoshapes revealed that the end-labeled nanorod and the nanosphere achieved the highest absolute labeling intensities, but the highest signal-to-noise ratio, calculated as the ratio of overall labeling to initiator-free background labeling, was achieved by the end-labeled nanorod, with the edge-labeled nanotile coming in second place slightly ahead of the nanosphere. The findings from this study can help us further understand the factors that affect membrane attachment using cholesterol anchors, thus providing guidelines for the rational design of future functional DNA nanostructures.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoscale Emerging Investigators