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DNA-Mediated Self-Organization of Polymeric Nanocompartments Leads to Interconnected Artificial Organelles

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Department of Chemistry, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 80, Basel 4056, Switzerland
BioEM lab, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Mattenstrasse 26, 4058 Basel, Switzerland
*E-mail: [email protected] (C.G.P.).
Cite this: Nano Lett. 2016, 16, 11, 7128–7136
Publication Date (Web):October 11, 2016
Copyright © 2016 American Chemical Society

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    Self-organization of nanocomponents was mainly focused on solid nanoparticles, quantum dots, or liposomes to generate complex architectures with specific properties, but intrinsically limited or not developed enough, to mimic sophisticated structures with biological functions in cells. Here, we present a biomimetic strategy to self-organize synthetic nanocompartments (polymersomes) into clusters with controlled properties and topology by exploiting DNA hybridization to interconnect polymersomes. Molecular and external factors affecting the self-organization served to design clusters mimicking the connection of natural organelles: fine-tune of the distance between tethered polymersomes, different topologies, no fusion of clustered polymersomes, and no aggregation. Unexpected, extended DNA bridges that result from migration of the DNA strands inside the thick polymer membrane (about 12 nm) represent a key stability and control factor, not yet exploited for other synthetic nano-object networks. The replacement of the empty polymersomes with artificial organelles, already reported for single polymersome architecture, will provide an excellent platform for the development of artificial systems mimicking natural organelles or cells and represents a fundamental step in the engineering of molecular factories.

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