Synthetic Chemotaxis: Path Tracking Vesicles with DNA Walkers

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DNA nanotechnology, chemotaxis, synthetic cells, DNA walkers


Here we demonstrate dynamic synthetic vesicles (SVs) capable of chasing one another on two dimensional (2D) surfaces by programming DNA components.1 As a programmable material, DNA has been engineered for generating synthetic molecular systems such as nanostructures, affinity reagents, motors, and logic gates. We show that directed motility in DNA functionalized SVs can be achieved by combining toehold switchable oligonucleotides with signaling strands and that the ‘follow’ vesicle recognizes the path that the ‘lead’ vesicle has travelled and tracks the trajectory with enhanced speed. To demonstrate such synthetic chemotaxis, we first self-assembled vesicles using phospholipid-oligonucleotide conjugates whose sequence contains our motility designs. The vesicle has an average diameter of ~200 nm and decorated with multiple DNA walkers such that it can migrate on an RNA fuel decorated glass coverslip. Paper presented virtually for 17th Annual Conference on Foundations of Nanoscience: Self-Assembled Architectures and Devices (FNANO20).