[Illinois] Rational Design of MegaDalton-Scale DNA-Based Light Harvesting Antennas

By Mark Bathe

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Programmed self-assembly of DNA using scaffolded DNA origami offers the unique opportunity to engineer complex structural assemblies at the MegaDalton-scale with sub-nanometer precision. Due to their sequence specificity, these nucleic acid assemblies also serve as programmable structural scaffolds to host secondary, light-harvesting molecules and thereby serve as biomimetic light-harvesting antennas for artificial photosynthesis. Here, I present our computational design tool CanDo (cando-dna-origami.org) that predicts both the overall 3D architecture of MegaDalton-scale DNA-based assemblies as well as their light-harvesting properties when used as scaffolds to host chromophores and porphyrins. This computational design framework enables the rapid in silico design and evaluation of functional light-harvesting constructs to mimic bacterial lightharvesting assemblies.


Mark Bathe (MIT) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He received his BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees from MIT in 1998, 2001, and 2004, respectively, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He directs the Laboratory for Computational Biology & Biophysics that seeks to develop innovative computational tools to enable the rational forward design of synthetic biological components based on structural DNA nanotechnology, and Bayesian approaches to reverse engineer dynamic biological processes from fluorescence imaging and spectroscopy data.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Mark Bathe (2013), "[Illinois] Rational Design of MegaDalton-Scale DNA-Based Light Harvesting Antennas," http://nanohub.org/resources/19481.

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