A DNA tweezer-actuated enzyme nanoreactor

Liu M, Fu J, Hejesen C, Yang Y, Woodbury NW, Gothelf K, Liu Y, Yan H.

Nat Commun. 2013;4:2127. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3127.

Center for Single Molecule Biophysics, Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA.


The functions of regulatory enzymes are essential to modulating cellular pathways. Here we report a tweezer-like DNA nanodevice to actuate the activity of an enzyme/cofactor pair. A dehydrogenase and NAD(+) cofactor are attached to different arms of the DNA tweezer structure and actuation of enzymatic function is achieved by switching the tweezers between open and closed states. The enzyme/cofactor pair is spatially separated in the open state with inhibited enzyme function, whereas in the closed state, enzyme is activated by the close proximity of the two molecules. The conformational state of the DNA tweezer is controlled by the addition of specific oligonucleotides that serve as the thermodynamic driver (fuel) to trigger the change. Using this approach, several cycles of externally controlled enzyme inhibition and activation are successfully demonstrated. This principle of responsive enzyme nanodevices may be used to regulate other types of enzymes and to introduce feedback or feed-forward control loops.

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