Blueprints for dodecahedral DNA cages

N. Jonoska, R. Twarock

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Cage structures engineered from nucleic acids are of interest in nanotechnology, for example as a means of drug delivery (Destito et al 2007). Until now, most experimentally realized DNA cages have crystallographic symmetry, such as the shape of a cube (Chen and Seeman 1991 Nature 350 631-3), a tetrahedron (Goodman et al 2005 Science 310 1661-5), an octahedron (Shih et al 2004 Nature 427 618-21) or a truncated octahedron (Zhang and Seeman 1994 J. Am. Chem. Soc. 116 1661-9). Two examples of cages with non-crystallographic symmetry, a dodecahedron and a buckyball, have been realized recently (He et al 2008 Nature 452 198-201). A characteristic feature of these realizations is the fact that the cages are built from a number of identical building blocks called tiles: 20 for the case of the dodecahedron, and 60 for the case of the buckyball. We derive here a blueprint for the organization of nucleic acid in a dodecahedral cage such that the final product has a minimal number of strands. In particular, we show that a dodecahedral cage can be realized in terms of only two circular DNA molecules. We focus on the dodecahedral cage, because the volume to surface ratio of such a cage is larger than that of its crystallographic counterparts given the same fixed radial distance of the polyhedral vertices from the centre of the structure, whilst still requiring a smaller complexity than the truncated icosahedron (buckyball). We therefore expect that the dodecahedral DNA cages discussed here may be of interest in further applications in nanotechnology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number304043
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008



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