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Stahl, Evi; Praetorius, Florian; Mann, Carina C. de Oliveira; Hopfner, Karl-Peter; Dietz, Hendrik (2016): Impact of Heterogeneity and Lattice Bond Strength on DNA Triangle Crystal Growth. In: Acs Nano, Vol. 10, No. 10: pp. 9156-9164
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One key goal of DNA nanotechnology is the bottom-up construction of macroscopic crystalline materials. Beyond applications in fields such as photonics or plasmonics, DNA-based crystal matrices could possibly facilitate the diffraction-based structural analysis of guest molecules. Seeman and co-workers reported in 2009 the first designed crystal matrices based on a 38 kDa DNA triangle that was composed of seven chains. The crystal lattice was stabilized, unprecedentedly, by Watson Crick base pairing. However, 3D crystallization of larger designed DNA objects that include more chains such as DNA origami remains an unsolved problem. Larger objects would offer more degrees of freedom and design options with respect to tailoring lattice geometry and for positioning other objects within a crystal lattice. The greater rigidity of multilayer DNA origami could also positively influence the diffractive properties of crystals composed of such particles. Here, we rationally explore the role of heterogeneity and Watson Crick interaction strengths in crystal growth using 40 variants of the original DNA triangle as model multichain objects. Crystal growth of the triangle was remarkably robust despite massive chemical, geometrical, and thermodynamical sample heterogeneity that we introduced, but the crystal growth sensitively depended on the sequences of base pairs next to the Watson Crick sticky ends of the triangle. Our results point to weak lattice interactions and high concentrations as decisive factors for achieving productive crystallization, while sample heterogeneity and impurities played a minor role.