DNA gets knotted

A complicated molecular knot with more than thirty crossovers forms spontaneously from a designer DNA, according to researchers at the National Institute of Chemistry of Slovenia. Team leader Roman Jerala and colleagues report the discovery of the method for the design and preparation of highly knotted molecular structures in the journal Nature Communications. The team explains that the knotting is encoded by the arrangement of modules of different stability based in the DNA. Only the one with the folding pathway designed according to the ‘free-end’ rule folds efficiently into the target structure; the same approach could be used to knot RNA and proteins for nanotechnology applications.