Enzymatic ligation of large biomolecules to DNA

Sørensen RS, Okholm AH, Schaffert D, Kodal AL, Gothelf KV, Kjems J.

ACS Nano. 2013 Sep 24;7(9):8098-104. doi: 10.1021/nn403386f. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

 Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, ‡Department of Molecular Biology, §Department of Chemistry, and ⊥Centre for DNA Nanotechnology, Aarhus University , Gustav Wieds Vej 14, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.


The ability to synthesize, characterize, and manipulate DNA forms the foundation of a range of advanced disciplines including genomics, molecular biology, and biomolecular engineering. In particular for the latter field, DNA has proven useful as a structural or functional component in nanoscale self-assembled structures, antisense therapeutics, microarray diagnostics, and biosensors. Such applications frequently require DNA to be modified and conjugated to other macromolecules, including proteins, polymers, or fatty acids, in order to equip the system with properties required for a particular application. However, conjugation of DNA to large molecular components using classical chemistries often suffers from suboptimal yields. Here, we report the use of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) for direct enzymatic ligation of native DNA to nucleotide triphosphates coupled to proteins and other large macromolecules. We demonstrate facile synthesis routes for a range of NTP-activated macromolecules and subsequent ligation to the 3′ hydroxyl group of oligodeoxynucleotides using TdT. The reaction is highly specific and proceeds rapidly and essentially to completion at micromolar concentrations. As a proof of principle, parallelly labeled oligonucleotides were used to produce nanopatterned DNA origami structures, demonstrating rapid and versatile incorporation of non-DNA components into DNA nanoarchitectures.

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