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Engineering structure and response of soft materials with DNA-mediated interactions

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The selectivity of Watson-Crick base pairing makes DNA the ideal tool for controlling structure and functionality at the nano and micro-scale. First, I will give a brief review of basic ideas and recent advances in the booming field of DNA nanotechnology. I will then explain how short synthetic DNA tethers can be used as artificial ligand/receptors to drive the self-assembly of colloidal particles into materials with a unique structure [1,2,3]. Finally I will demonstrate how these artificial linkers can be coupled to compliant “particles”, namely lipid vesicles, to achieve a whole range of structural responses that cannot be induced using solid particles [4,5,6].

[1] F. Varrato, L. Di Michele, M. Belushkin, N. Dorsaz, S. H. Nathan, E. Eiser and G. Foffi, Arrested Demixing Opens Route to Bigels, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA , 109(47) 19155-19160, (2012)

[2] L. Di Michele, F. Varrato, J. Kotar, S. H. Nathan, G. Foffi and E. Eiser, Multistep Kinetic Self-Assembly of DNA -coated Colloids, Nature Comm., 4:2007, (2013)

[3] L. Di Michele, D. Fiocco, F. Varrato, S. Sastry, E. Eiser, and G. Foffi, Aggregation Dynamics, Structure, and Mechanical Properties of Bigels, Soft Matter, 10 3633-3648, (2014)

[4] L. Parolini, B. M. Mognetti, J. Kotar, E. Eiser, P. Cicuta, and L. Di Michele, Volume and Porosity Thermal Regulation in Lipid Mesophases by Coupling Mobile Ligands to Soft Membranes, Nature. Comm., 6:5948, (2015)

[5] S. F. Shimobayashi, B. M. Mognetti, L. Parolini, D. Orsi, P. Cicuta, and L. Di Michele, Direct measurement of DNA -mediated adhesion between lipid bilayers, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 15(9) 3115-3129, (2015)

[6] L. Parolini, J. Kotar, L. Di Michele, and B. M. Mognetti, Controlling Self-Assembly Kinetics of DNA -Functionalized Liposomes Using Toehold Exchange Mechanism, ACS Nano, 10(2), 2392-2398, (2016)

This talk is part of the Surfaces, Microstructure and Fracture Group series.

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