Anisotropically Functionalized Aptamer-DNA Nanostructures for Enhanced Cell Proliferation and Target-Specific Adhesion in 3D Cell Cultures

Keonwook Nam, Byeol I. Im, Taehyung Kim, Young Min Kim, Young Hoon Roh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The development of supramolecular hydrogel scaffolds for the precise positioning of biochemical cues is paramount for applications such as tissue engineering. Nucleic acid engineering allows fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) nanostructures with high variability and nanoscale precision. In this study, aptamers were anisotropically functionalized onto branched DNA nanostructures to control their cell adhesion capability, and their efficiency as biological signal inducers for 3D cell cultivation was investigated. Each arm of the X-shaped DNA nanostructure (X-DNA) was functionalized with photo-cross-linkable or cell adhesion moieties, and the steric hindrance of the 3D DNA nanostructures on a cell was optimized. X-DNA nanostructures with cell-positioning parameters were rapidly photopolymerized to form hybrid hydrogels, and their effects on cell behaviors and positions were investigated. We observed that aptamer-functionalized X-DNA nanostructures exhibited significantly enhanced cell proliferation and provided homogeneous distribution and target-specific adhesion of encapsulated cells within hydrogel matrices. Overall, the anisotropic functionalization of DNA nanostructures provides a controllable function for the advancement of conventional 3D culture platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3138-3147
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 12

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Yonsei University Future-leading Research Initiative of 2016 (2016-22-0054). The work was supported in part by Brain Korea 21(BK21) FOUR program. This research was also partially supported by the Graduate School of YONSEI University Research Scholarship Grants in 2020.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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