Evolution of Nucleic-Acid-Based Constitutional Dynamic Networks Revealing Adaptive and Emergent Functions

Liang Yue, Verena Wulf, Shan Wang, Itamar Willner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The evolution of networks is a fundamental unresolved issue in developing the area of systems chemistry. We introduce a versatile rewiring mechanism that leads to the emergence of nucleic-acid-based constitutional dynamic networks (CDNs). A two-component constituent AA′ functionalized with a Mg2+-ion-dependent DNAzyme activator unit forms a complex with an intact hairpin HBB′ composed of B and B′ sequences. Cleavage of HBB′ leads to the two-component constituent BB′, and its rewiring with AA′ yields CDN X composed of the equilibrated constituents AA′, AB′, BA′, and BB′. In analogy, subjecting AA′ to an intact hairpin HCC′ leads to the formation of CDN Y consisting of AA′, AC′, CA′, and CC′. Subjecting AA′ to the mixture of HBB′ and HCC′ evolves the [3×3] CDN Z, composed of nine constituents, thus demonstrating hierarchical adaptive properties. Furthermore, the DNAzyme units associated with the constituents are applied to tailor emerging catalytic functions from the different CDNs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12238-12245
Number of pages8
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number35
StatePublished - 26 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA
  • DNAzymes
  • kinetic simulation
  • origin of life
  • systems chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of Nucleic-Acid-Based Constitutional Dynamic Networks Revealing Adaptive and Emergent Functions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this