Heterochiral DNA Strand-Displacement Circuits Academic Article uri icon


  • The absence of a straightforward strategy to interface native d-DNA with its enantiomer l-DNA-oligonucleotides of opposite chirality are incapable of forming contiguous Watson-Crick base pairs with each other-has enforced a "homochiral" paradigm over the field of dynamic DNA nanotechnology. As a result, chirality, a key intrinsic property of nucleic acids, is often overlooked as a design element for engineering of DNA-based devices, potentially limiting the types of behaviors that can be achieved using these systems. Here we introduce a toehold-mediated strand-displacement methodology for transferring information between orthogonal DNA enantiomers via an achiral intermediary, opening the door for "heterochiral" DNA nanotechnology having fully interfaced d-DNA and l-DNA components. Using this approach, we demonstrate several heterochiral DNA circuits having novel capabilities, including autonomous chiral inversion of DNA sequence information and chirality-based computing. In addition, we show that heterochiral circuits can directly interface endogenous RNAs (e.g., microRNAs) with bioorthogonal l-DNA, suggesting applications in bioengineering and nanomedicine. Overall, this work establishes chirality as a design parameter for engineering of dynamic DNA nanotechnology, thereby expanding the types of architectures and behaviors that can be realized using DNA.

altmetric score

  • 9.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Kabza, A. M., Young, B. E., & Sczepanski, J. T.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Kabza, Adam M||Young, Brian E||Sczepanski, Jonathan T

publication date

  • January 2017