DNA-based digital comparator systems constructed by multifunctional nanoswitches†
In this paper, we propose a strategy involving coupling DNA structural nanoswitches with toehold mediated strand displacement for constructing novel DNA-based digital comparator (DC) logic systems, which are a basic part of traditional electronic computers and can compare whether two or more input numbers are equal. However, when the number of DC inputs is increased to a certain level, the speed and quality of the computing circuit can be affected because of the limitations of conventional electronic computers when it comes to handling large-scale quantities of data. To solve this problem, in this work, we introduce a multi-input to multi-output DNA switch-based platform that can enable complex DC logical comparison. These multifunctional DNA-based switches, each including two hairpin-shaped molecular beacons and a G4/NMM complex, were used as platforms for the step-by-step realization of 2-3 DC, 3-3 DC, and 4-3 DC logic operations. Also, experiments were designed to further verify the excellent selectivity, achieving single-base mismatch operations with the digital comparator. Based on our design, comparators (“>”, “<” and “=”) can be realized. Our prototype can inspire new designs and have intelligent digital comparator and in-field applications.