Issue 2, 2021

Reversible membrane deformations by straight DNA origami filaments


Membrane-active cytoskeletal elements, such as FtsZ, septin or actin, form filamentous polymers able to induce and stabilize curvature on cellular membranes. In order to emulate the characteristic dynamic self-assembly properties of cytoskeletal subunits in vitro, biomimetic synthetic scaffolds were here developed using DNA origami. In contrast to our earlier work with pre-curved scaffolds, we specifically assessed the potential of origami mimicking straight filaments, such as actin and microtubules, by origami presenting cholesteryl anchors for membrane binding and additional blunt end stacking interactions for controllable polymerization into linear filaments. By assessing the interaction of our DNA nanostructures with model membranes using fluorescence microscopy, we show that filaments can be formed, upon increasing MgCl2 in solution, for structures displaying blunt ends; and can subsequently depolymerize, by decreasing the concentration of MgCl2. Distinctive spike-like membrane protrusions were generated on giant unilamellar vesicles at high membrane-bound filament densities, and the presence of such deformations was reversible and shown to correlate with the MgCl2-triggered polymerization of DNA origami subunits into filamentous aggregates. In the end, our approach reveals the formation of membrane-bound filaments as a minimal requirement for membrane shaping by straight cytoskeletal-like objects.

Graphical abstract: Reversible membrane deformations by straight DNA origami filaments

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Article information

Article type
24 Jan 2020
05 May 2020
First published
06 May 2020
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Soft Matter, 2021,17, 276-287

Reversible membrane deformations by straight DNA origami filaments

H. G. Franquelim, H. Dietz and P. Schwille, Soft Matter, 2021, 17, 276 DOI: 10.1039/D0SM00150C

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