Controllable DNA strand displacement by independent metal–ligand complexation†
Introduction of artificial metal–ligand base pairs can enrich the structural diversity and functional controllability of nucleic acids. In this work, we revealed a novel approach by placing a ligand-type nucleoside as an independent toehold to control DNA strand-displacement reactions based on metal–ligand complexation. This metal-mediated artificial base pair could initiate strand invasion similar to the natural toehold DNA, but exhibited flexible controllability to manipulate the dynamics of strand displacement that was only governed by its intrinsic coordination properties. External factors that influence the intrinsic properties of metal–ligand complexation, including metal species, metal concentrations and pH conditions, could be utilized to regulate the strand dynamics. Reversible control of DNA strand-displacement reactions was also achieved through combination of the metal-mediated artificial base pair with the conventional toehold-mediated strand exchange by cyclical treatments of the metal ion and the chelating reagent. Unlike previous studies of embedded metal-mediated base pairs within natural base pairs, this metal–ligand complexation is not integrated into the nucleic acid structure, but functions as an independent toehold to regulate strand displacement, which would open a new door for the development of versatile dynamic DNA nanotechnologies.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2021 Chemical Science HOT Article Collection