Compositional and structural engineering of DNA multilayer films

Angus P.R. Johnston, Hideyuki Mitomo, Elizabeth S. Read, Frank Caruso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


We report the layer-by-layer (LbL) preparation of multilayered thin films that consist solely of DNA. The properties of the films were varied by assembling the layers from different oligonucleotide building blocks, which are composed of repeating homopolymeric units of nucleotides [adenosine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymidine (T)] or "random" sequences. Films assembled from oligonucleotides with a single complementary unit did not show continual layer buildup. To form a repeating multilayer system, it was necessary for single-stranded DNA to be available for subsequent layers to hybridize. By using oligonucleotides with multiple nucleotide units, multilayer films were successfully assembled. We demonstrate that the thickness and swellability of the films can be controlled by the extent of hydrogen bonding (the G/C content of the oligonucleotide) and orientation of the oligomers. We have examined the stability and swellability of the films in solutions of varying salt concentration as well as in a denaturing urea solution. Stable, hollow DNA capsules were also formed by preparing the films on sacrificial colloidal templates, followed by removal of the core. The assembly of propagating structures through DNA hybridization paves the way for the engineering of DNA films with tailored composition, structure, and permeability, making them likely to find application in drug/gene delivery and biomolecular sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3251-3258
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

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