Allosteric DNA nanoswitches for controlled release of a molecular cargo triggered by biological inputs†
Here we demonstrate the rational design of a new class of DNA-based nanoswitches which are allosterically regulated by specific biological targets, antibodies and transcription factors, and are able to load and release a molecular cargo (i.e. doxorubicin) in a controlled fashion. In our first model system we rationally designed a stem-loop DNA-nanoswitch that adopts two mutually exclusive conformations: a “Load” conformation containing a doxorubicin-intercalating domain and a “Release” conformation containing a duplex portion recognized by a specific transcription-factor (here Tata Binding Protein). The binding of the transcription factor pushes this conformational equilibrium towards the “Release” state thus leading to doxorubicin release from the nanoswitch. In our second model system we designed a similar stem-loop DNA-nanoswitch for which conformational change and subsequent doxorubicin release can be triggered by a specific antibody. Our approach augments the current tool kit of smart drug release mechanisms regulated by different biological inputs.