Molecular self-assembly using peptide nucleic acids

Or Berger, Ehud Gazit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) are extensively studied for the control of genetic expression since their design in the 1990s. However, the application of PNAs in nanotechnology is much more recent. PNAs share the specific base-pair recognition characteristic of DNA together with material-like properties of polyamides, both proteins and synthetic polymers, such as Kevlar and Nylon. The first application of PNA was in the form of PNA-amphiphiles, resulting in the formation of either lipid integrated structures, hydrogels or fibrillary assemblies. Heteroduplex DNA–PNA assemblies allow the formation of hybrid structures with higher stability as compared with pure DNA. A systematic screen for minimal PNA building blocks resulted in the identification of guanine-containing di-PNA assemblies and protected guanine-PNA monomer spheres showing unique optical properties. Finally, the co-assembly of PNA with thymine-like three-faced cyanuric acid allowed the assembly of poly-adenine PNA into fibers. In summary, we believe that PNAs represent a new and important family of building blocks which converges the advantages of both DNA- and peptide-nanotechnologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere22930
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme694426


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