Construction of Photon-Fueled DNA Nanomachines by Tethering Azobenzenes as Engines
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Nanoscale DNA tweezers operated by photo-irradiation were constructed by using azobenzene-modified DNA as materials. The azobenzenes that can photoisomerize between trans and cis form were used as the engines to open and close the tweezers. The work principle is based on the reversible photoregulation of complementary DNA hybridization. When non-substituted azobenzene was used, the tweezers were opened after UV light irradiation (330-350 nm, cis form), and closed after visible light irradiation (440-460 nm, trans form). More interestingly, the operation reversed when an azobenzene derivative with a para-isopropyl group was used: UV light irradiation closed the tweezers and visible light irradiation opened them. As compared with the oligonucleotide-fueled DNA machines, the nanomachines constructed here were “environment-friendly” because no dsDNA waste was produced. Furthermore, the operation can be repeated many times simply by switching the photo-irradiation without any decrease of the cycling efficiency.
KeywordsDNA nanomachine azobenzene photoregulation hybridization
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