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Brützel, Linda K.; Walker, Philipp U.; Gerling, Thomas; Dietz, Hendrik; Lipfert, Jan (2018): Time-Resolved Small-Angle X-ray Scattering Reveals Millisecond Transitions of a DNA Origami Switch. In: Nano Letters, Vol. 18, No. 4: pp. 2672-2676
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Self-assembled DNA structures enable creation of specific shapes at the nanometer-micrometer scale with molecular resolution. The construction of functional DNA assemblies will likely require dynamic structures that can undergo controllable conformational changes. DNA devices based on shape complementary stacking interactions have been demonstrated to undergo reversible conformational changes triggered by changes in ionic environment or temperature. An experimentally unexplored aspect is how quickly conformational transitions of large synthetic DNA origami structures can actually occur. Here, we use time-resolved small-angle X-ray scattering to monitor large-scale conformational transitions of a two-state DNA origami switch in free solution. We show that the DNA device switches from its open to its dosed conformation upon addition of MgCl2 in milliseconds, which is dose to the theoretical diffusive speed limit. In contrast, measurements of the dimerization of DNA origami bricks reveal much slower and concentration-dependent assembly kinetics. DNA brick dimerization occurs on a time scale of minutes to hours suggesting that the kinetics depend on local concentration and molecular alignment.