Functionalized DNA nanostructures as scaffolds for guided mineralization†
The field of DNA nanotechnology uses synthetic DNA strands as building blocks for designing complex shapes in one-, two- and three-dimensions. Here, we investigate whether DNA nanostructures are feasible platforms for the precise organization of polyaspartic acid (pAsp), a known mineral carrier, with a goal towards biomimetic mineralization for enamel regeneration. We describe the preparation of DNA–pAsp conjugates and their subsequent assembly into ordered nanostructures. Covalent attachment of pAsp to DNA was noted to hinder DNA nanostructure formation past a certain threshold (50% pAsp) when tested on a previously published DNA system. However, a simplified double stranded DNA system (3sDH system) was more robust and efficient in its pAsp incorporation. In addition, the 3sDH system was successful in organizing mineral inducing groups in one dimension at repeating intervals of 28.7 ± 4.0 nm, as determined by atomic force microscopy. Our results demonstrate that DNA nanostructures can be functionalized with pAsp and act as a platform to investigate guided mineralization.