DNA nanotubes and helical nanotapes via self-assembly of ssDNA-amphiphiles†
DNA nanotubes were created using molecular self-assembly of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA)-amphiphiles composed of a hydrophobic dialkyl tail and polycarbon spacer and a hydrophilic ssDNA headgroup. The nanotube structures were formed by bilayers of amphiphiles, with the hydrophobic components forming an inner layer that was shielded from the aqueous solvent by an outer layer of ssDNA. The nanotubes appeared to form via an assembly process that included transitions from twisted nanotapes to helical nanotapes to nanotubes. Amphiphiles that contained different ssDNA headgroups were created to explore the effect of the length and secondary structure of the ssDNA headgroup on the self-assembly behavior of the amphiphiles in the presence and absence of the polycarbon spacer. It was found that nanotubes could be formed using a variety of headgroup lengths and sequences. The ability to create nanotubes via ssDNA-amphiphile self-assembly offers an alternative to the other purely DNA-based approaches like DNA origami and DNA tile assembly for constructing these structures and may be useful for applications in drug delivery, biosensing, and electronics.