Two DNA-cross-linking reagents, bis-chloroethylnitrosourea and 8-methoxypsoralen, are used to covalently cross-link interstrand base pairs in DNA bonds that, in part, define colloidal crystals engineered with DNA. The irreversible linkages formed increase the chemical and thermal stability of the crystals and do not significantly affect their long-range order, as evidenced by small-angle X-ray scattering data. The post-modified crystals are stable in environments that the pre-modified structures are not, including solvents that encompass a broad range of polarities from ethanol to hexanes, and in aqueous media at pH 0 and 14. Interestingly, the cross-linked DNA bonds within these crystals still retain their flexibility, which is reflected by a solvent-dependent reversible change in lattice parameter. Since these organic cross-linking reagents, in comparison with inorganic approaches (use of silver ions or SiO2), have marginal effects on the composition and properties of the crystals, they provide an attractive alternative for stabilizing colloidal crystals engineered with DNA and make them potentially useful in a broader range of media.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry