DNA nano balls

Günter von Kiedrowski at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, and colleagues have pieced together a dodecahedron from DNA building blocks using self-assembly processes. The researchers used computer modeling to identify a set of 30 independent, 15-base-pair-long, double-stranded DNA sequences with similar physical properties that could be used to construct the hollow molecular ball. They assigned the double-stranded sequences to the individual edges of the dodecahedron and to specific vertices for termination and then determined which three single-stranded sequences needed to be attached to each three-legged junction for the predetermined structure to form. Twenty individual trisoligonucleotides comprised three-legged branching junctions were chosen to pieces together the final dodecahedron. Functionalizing the surface could give such structures a passing resemblance to little viruses, the researchers say.