Programmed DNA self-assembly and logic circuits

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DNA is a unique, highly programmable and addressable biomolecule. Due to its reliable and predictable base recognition behavior, uniform structural properties, and extraordinary stability, DNA molecules are desirable substrates for

DNA is a unique, highly programmable and addressable biomolecule. Due to its reliable and predictable base recognition behavior, uniform structural properties, and extraordinary stability, DNA molecules are desirable substrates for biological computation and nanotechnology. The field of DNA computation has gained considerable attention due to the possibility of exploiting the massive parallelism that is inherent in natural systems to solve computational problems. This dissertation focuses on building novel types of computational DNA systems based on both DNA reaction networks and DNA nanotechnology. A series of related research projects are presented here. First, a novel, three-input majority logic gate based on DNA strand displacement reactions was constructed. Here, the three inputs in the majority gate have equal priority, and the output will be true if any two of the inputs are true. We subsequently designed and realized a complex, 5-input majority logic gate. By controlling two of the five inputs, the complex gate is capable of realizing every combination of OR and AND gates of the other 3 inputs. Next, we constructed a half adder, which is a basic arithmetic unit, from DNA strand operated XOR and AND gates. The aim of these two projects was to develop novel types of DNA logic gates to enrich the DNA computation toolbox, and to examine plausible ways to implement large scale DNA logic circuits. The third project utilized a two dimensional DNA origami frame shaped structure with a hollow interior where DNA hybridization seeds were selectively positioned to control the assembly of small DNA tile building blocks. The small DNA tiles were directed to fill the hollow interior of the DNA origami frame, guided through sticky end interactions at prescribed positions. This research shed light on the fundamental behavior of DNA based self-assembling systems, and provided the information necessary to build programmed nanodisplays based on the self-assembly of DNA.