Mechanically rigid supramolecular assemblies formed from an Fmoc-guanine conjugated peptide nucleic acid

Vasantha Basavalingappa, Santu Bera, Bin Xue, Ido Azuri, Yiming Tang, Linda J.W. Shimon, Michael R. Sawaya, Sofiya Kolusheva, David S. Eisenberg, Leeor Kronik, Yi Cao, Guanghong Wei, Ehud Gazit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The variety and complexity of DNA-based structures make them attractive candidates for nanotechnology, yet insufficient stability and mechanical rigidity, compared to polyamide-based molecules, limit their application. Here, we combine the advantages of polyamide materials and the structural patterns inspired by nucleic-acids to generate a mechanically rigid fluorenylmethyloxycarbonyl (Fmoc)-guanine peptide nucleic acid (PNA) conjugate with diverse morphology and photoluminescent properties. The assembly possesses a unique atomic structure, with each guanine head of one molecule hydrogen bonded to the Fmoc carbonyl tail of another molecule, generating a non-planar cyclic quartet arrangement. This structure exhibits an average stiffness of 69.6 ± 6.8 N m−1 and Young’s modulus of 17.8 ± 2.5 GPa, higher than any previously reported nucleic acid derived structure. This data suggests that the unique cation-free “basket” formed by the Fmoc-G-PNA conjugate can serve as an attractive component for the design of new materials based on PNA self-assembly for nanotechnology applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5256
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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