We report a photolithographic method for the shape control of DNA hydrogels based on photo-activated self-assembly of Y-shaped DNA nanostructures (Y-motifs). To date, various methods to control the shape of DNA hydrogels have been developed to enhance the functions of the DNA hydrogel system. However, photolithographic production of shape-controlled DNA hydrogels formed through the self-assembly of DNA nanostructures without the use of radical polymerizations has never been demonstrated, although such a method is expected to be applied for the shape-control of DNA hydrogels encapsulating sensitive biomolecules, such as proteins. In this study, we used a photo-activated linker to initiate the self-assembly of Y-motifs, where the cross-linker DNA was at first inactive but was activated after UV light irradiation, resulting in the formation of shape-controlled DNA hydrogels only at the UV-exposed area produced by photomasks. We believe that this method will be applied for the construction of biohybrid machines, such as molecular robots and artificial cells that contain intelligent biomolecular devices, such as molecular sensors and computers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering