Visible/near-infrared subdiffraction imaging reveals the stochastic nature of DNA walkers

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Science Advances  20 Jan 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 1, e1601600
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601600


DNA walkers are designed with the structural specificity and functional diversity of oligonucleotides to actively convert chemical energy into mechanical translocation. Compared to natural protein motors, DNA walkers’ small translocation distance (mostly <100 nm) and slow reaction rate (<0.1 nm s−1) make single-molecule characterization of their kinetics elusive. An important indication of single-walker kinetics is the rate-limiting reactions that a particular walker design bears. We introduce an integrated super-resolved fluorescence microscopy approach that is capable of long-term imaging to investigate the stochastic behavior of DNA walkers. Subdiffraction tracking and imaging in the visible and second near-infrared spectra resolve walker structure and reaction rates. The distributions of walker kinetics are analyzed using a stochastic model to reveal reaction randomness and the rate-limiting biochemical reaction steps.

  • DNA nanotechnology
  • DNA walker
  • subdiffraction imaging
  • single molecule kinetics

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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