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Associating bio and non bio-components into functionally relevant nanostructures



Statut des brevets

European patent application n° EP09290826.8 filed on October 10th, 2009 entitled « Multidimensional supramolecular structures essentially made of assembled I-Motif tetramers »


Jean-Louis LEROY

Statut commercial

Exclusive or non-exclusive licenses, Collaborative agreement


Laboratoire d’Ingénierie des Systèmes Biologiques et des Procédés (LISBP), a CNRS laboratory (UMR5504) in Toulouse, France,



In the nanotechnology sector, examples of methodology enabling supramolecular scaffold manufacture have already been done. These methods are mainly based on the auto assembly of « building blocks ». More particularly, DNA based methods are advantageously used because of the its natural properties : programmability of Watson-Crick base-paired secondary interactions, useful both to design branched molecular motifs and to connect them through sticky-ended cohesion. However several drawbacks are associated with self assemblies involving classical Watson-Crick base-paired structures:

  • thermodynamic equilibrium based assemblies involving reversible hybridization conditions at fairly high temperatures (DNA melting) are poorly compatible with functionalized structures involving protein or fragile components​
  • kinetically controled assemblies at low temperature are fairly complex to design and require sophisticated strategies to avoid formation of misassemblies limiting their general use

Aternate DNA building blocks (“i-motifs”) involving hemiprotonated [Cytidine• (neutral) C+ (protonated)] pairs forming two parallel duplexes mutually intercalated in a head to tail orientation offers the advantage to allow controllable assemblies at room temperature by slight pH shifts modulating base protonation. “I-motifs” made of homopolymer of cytidine can easily self-assemble into large supramolecular structures by successive block addition. However such assemblies are hardly controlable due to the use of a unique molecular block lacking functional diversity.


The present technology is a methodology allowing self-assembly of “i-motifs” into solution or preferably on a surface, thus generating nanostructures of controllable forms and functionalities. The method involves novel semi-synthetic (proteo) nucleic molecular blocks able to self-organise into dynamic polymers on a pH dependant manner. Assembly can be driven by surface features giving rise to organized 2D-structures that can be dynamically rearranged. The supramolecular structure assembly is driven by specialy designed oligonucleotidic sequences including streches of cytidine originally interupted on a suitable manner by other nucleic bases.


Advantages of this method are:

  • Reversible (dynamic) assembly controled by pH and temperature
  • elf-assembling can be controlled by physico-chemical properties of a surface
  • Assembly of hybrid blocks [DNA – proteins – inorganic structures] of various size and form
  • Variability of resulting polymers : from rigid nanowires to nanomembrane


These structures would be usefull for many nanotechnologic applications, including fuel cells, biosensors, living/electronic devices, controled nanoencapsulation.


Different types of building blocks have been developped leading to different self-organised structures. Self-organisation control by surface is curently further investigated in view of combining nanofabrication and self-organisation techniques.

For further information, please contact us (Ref 02616-01)

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