DNA-based Signaling Networks for Transient Colloidal Co-Assemblies

28 April 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Programmable chemical circuits inspired by the signaling networks in living cells are a promising approach for the development of adaptive and autonomous self-assembling molecular systems and material functions. Progress has been made at the molecular level, but connecting molecular control circuits to self-assembling larger elements such as colloids that enable real-space studies and access to functional materials is sparse and can suffer from kinetic traps, flocculation, or difficult system integration protocols. Here we report a toehold-mediated DNA strand displacement reaction network capable of autonomously directing two different microgels into transient and self-regulating co-assemblies. The microgels are functionalized with DNA and become elemental components of the network. The flexibility of the circuit design allows the installation of delay phases or accelerators by chaining additional circuit modules upstream or downstream of the core circuit. The design provides an adaptable and robust route to regulate other building blocks for advanced biomimetic functions.


Systems chemistry
transient co-assembly
chemical reaction network
DNA strand displacement Reactions
non-equilibrium behavior.

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Supporting Information for DNA-based Signaling Networks for Transient Colloidal Co-Assemblies


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