Controlling the self-assembly of amphiphiles using DNA G-quadruplexes

Liliana Cozzoli

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

332 Downloads (Pure)


Aside from its biological role, the DNA molecule is fascinating because of its unique self-assembly properties. Through selective recognition between complementary nucleobases, two antiparallel strands of DNA assemble into the well-known double helix structure. Thanks to these properties, DNA is an ideal template to construct functional nanomaterials with various applications. Interestingly, DNA containing repetitive sequences of nucleobases can self-associate into various secondary structures that differ from the canonical double-helix conformation. Specifically, guanosine nucleosides possess a unique structure that allows for the interaction of four residues via Hoogsteen H-bonds. The resulting planar tetramers (G-quartets) with their polarized aromatic surfaces can associate via π- π stacking interactions forming the G-quadruplex (G-4) secondary structures.
The research described in this thesis aimed to explore the potential of supramolecular DNA G-4 based self-assemblies. Specifically, a tetramolecular parallel G-4 was employed as template to control the organization of amphiphilic molecules, such as lipids or peptides. G-rich oligonucleotides were covalently attached to the amphiphilic molecules, resulting in hybrid structures that combined the molecular recognition properties of DNA G-4s and the hydrophobic interactions typical of surfactants self-assembly. Moreover, the ability to trigger conformational changes in the G-4 structure in presence of metal ions, complementary strands or small molecules, was exploited to achieve novel DNA-based functional systems that can be controlled by external stimuli.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Roelfes, Johannes, Supervisor
  • Poolman, Berend, Supervisor
  • Herrmann, Andreas, Assessment committee
  • Witte, Martin, Assessment committee
  • Stulz, Eugen, Assessment committee, External person
Award date16-Nov-2018
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-1158-3
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1157-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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