Chemo-Mechanical Modulation of Cell Motions Using DNA Nanosprings

Deepak Karna, Morgan Stilgenbauer, Sagun Jonchhe, Kazuya Ankai, Ibuki Kawamata, Yunxi Cui, Yao Rong Zheng, Yuki Suzuki, Hanbin Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Cell motions such as migration and change in cellular morphology are essential activities for multicellular organism in response to environmental stimuli. These activities are a result of coordinated clustering/declustering of integrin molecules at the cell membrane. Here, we prepared DNA origami nanosprings to modulate cell motions by targeting the clustering of integrin molecules. Each nanospring was modified with arginyl-glycyl-aspartic acid (RGD) domains with a spacing such that when the nanospring is coiled, the RGD ligands trigger the clustering of integrin molecules, which changes cell motions. The coiling or uncoiling of the nanospring is controlled, respectively, by the formation or dissolution of an i-motif structure between neighboring piers in the DNA origami nanodevice. At slightly acidic pH (<6.5), the folding of the i-motif leads to the coiling of the nanospring, which inhibits the motion of HeLa cells. At neutrality (pH 7.4), the unfolding of the i-motif allows cells to resume mechanical movement as the nanospring becomes uncoiled. We anticipate that this pH-responsive DNA nanoassembly is valuable to inhibit the migration of metastatic cancer cells in acidic extracellular environment. Such a chemo-mechanical modulation provides a new mechanism for cells to mechanically respond to endogenous chemical cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-317
Number of pages7
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb 17


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