Metal-responsive structural transformation between artificial DNA duplexes and three-way junctions†
DNA three-way junctions (3WJs) are essential structural motifs for DNA nanoarchitectures and DNA-based materials. We report herein a metal-responsive structural transformation between DNA duplexes and 3WJs using artificial oligonucleotides modified with a 2,2′-bipyridine (bpy) ligand. A mixture of bpy-modified DNA strands and natural complementary strands were self-assembled exclusively into duplexes without any transition metal ions, while they formed 3WJs in the presence of NiII ions. This transformation was induced by the formation of an interstrand NiII(bpy)3 complex, which served as a template for the 3WJ assembly. Altering the amount and identity of the metal ion regulated the 3WJ induction efficiency. Removal of the metal using EDTA quantitatively regenerated the duplexes. The metal-dependent structural conversion shown here has many potential applications in the development of stimuli-responsive DNA materials.