Enzyme-catalysed assembly of DNA hydrogel

Soong Ho Um, Jong Bum Lee, Nokyoung Park, Sang Yeon Kwon, Christopher C. Umbach, Dan Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

697 Scopus citations


The construction of a hydrogel, entirely from a three dimensional branched DNA molecules, was analyzed. These branched DNA molecules were able to hybridize to and ligate with each other via T4 DNA ligase, serving as both monomers and crosslinkers. The self-assembly of branched DNA monomers coupled with ligase-catalysed reactions led to a large-scale, three-dimensional structure which had the properties of a hydrogel. The mechanical properties of DNA hydrogels were easily tunable, swollen X-DNA gel showed the strongest tensile modulus among all the DNA hydrogels, probably due to the fact that the crosslinked DNA molecules strongly resisted deformation. These DNA hydrogels were biocompatible, biogradable, inexpensive to fabricate and easily moulded into desired shapes and sizes. The distinct difference of the DNA hydrogel to other bio-inspired hydrogels is that the crosslinking is realized via efficient, ligase-mediated reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-801
Number of pages5
JournalNature Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - 5 Oct 2006


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