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Nano-sandwich composite by kinetic trapping assembly from protein and nucleic acid


Design and preparation of layered composite materials alternating between nucleic acids and proteins has been elusive due to limitations in occurrence and geometry of interaction sites in natural biomolecules. We report the design and kinetically controlled stepwise synthesis of a nano-sandwich composite by programmed noncovalent association of protein, DNA and RNA modules. A homo-tetramer protein core was introduced to control the self-assembly and precise positioning of two RNA-DNA hybrid nanotriangles in a co-parallel sandwich arrangement. Kinetically favored self-assembly of the circularly closed nanostructures at the protein was driven by the intrinsic fast folding ability of RNA corner modules which were added to precursor complex of DNA bound to the protein. The 3D architecture of this first synthetic protein-RNA-DNA complex was confirmed by fluorescence labeling and cryo-electron microscopy studies. The synthesis strategy for the nano-sandwich composite provides a general blueprint for controlled noncovalent assembly of complex supramolecular architectures from protein, DNA and RNA components, which expand the design repertoire for bottom-up preparation of layered biomaterials.

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