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Artificial Base zT as Functional “Element” for Constructing Photoresponsive DNA Nanomolecules

Wang, Ruowen, Jin, Cheng, Zhu, Xiaoyan, Zhou, Liyi, Xuan, Wenjing, Liu, Yuan, Liu, Qiaoling, Tan, Weihong
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2017 v.139 no.27 pp. 9104-9107
DNA, RNA, biocompatible materials, hydrogen bonding, irradiation, nucleobases
In contrast to small molecules, DNA and RNA macromolecules can be accurately formulated with base “elements” abbreviated as A, T, U, C, and G. However, the development of functionally artificial bases can result in the generation of new biomaterials with unique properties and applications. Therefore, we herein report the design and synthesis of a photoresponsive base as a new functional or molecular “element” for constructing DNA nanomolecules. The new base is made by fusion of an azobenzene with a natural T base (zT). zT, a new molecular element, is not only the most size-expanded T analogue but also a photoresponsive base capable of specific self-assembly through hydrogen bonding. Our results showed that stable and selective self-assembly of double-stranded DNAs occurred through zT-A base pairing, but it could still be efficiently dissociated by light irradiation. The photoresponsive DNA bases will provide the versatility required for constructing desired DNA nanomolecules and nanodevices.