Engineering Nucleic Acid Nanostructures for Sensing and Control of Biomolecules and Their Environments
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Nucleic acid nanotechnology has emerged in the past decade as a powerful and versatile method to create functional and programmable nanostructures through molecular self-assembly. The research presented in this dissertation uses a specific nucleic acid assembly technique known as DNA Origami to create and apply designer DNA nanostructures to three separate biotechnology-related applications. The first is a rigid fluorescent barcode system utilizing hierarchically assembled DNA origami nanorods, for use in situ labelling and detection of ssDNA and various proteins. Second, DNA origami is used to control the distance between two synergistic but non interacting proteins to study their cooperative binding to a third protein. Finally, an adaptation of DNA origami is used to create a shear flow sensor capable of producing fluorescent signal in response to fluidic shear.