Enzymatic Synthesis of Nucleobase-Modified Single-Stranded DNA Offers Tunable Resistance to Nuclease Degradation.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We synthesized long, nucleobase-modified, single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) enzymatic polymerization. Specifically, we investigated the effect of unnatural nucleobase size and incorporation density on ssDNA resistance to exo- and endonuclease degradation. We discovered that increasing the size and density of unnatural nucleobases enhances ssDNA resistance to degradation in the presence of exonuclease I, DNase I, and human serum. We also studied the mechanism of this resistance enhancement using molecular dynamics simulations. Our results show that the presence of unnatural nucleobases in ssDNA decreases local chain flexibility and hampers nuclease access to the ssDNA backbone, which hinders nuclease binding to ssDNA and slows its degradation. Our discoveries suggest that incorporating nucleobase-modified nucleotides into ssDNA, using enzymatic polymerization, is an easy and efficient strategy to prolong and tune the half-life of DNA-based materials in nucleases-containing environments.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gu, R; Oweida, T; Yingling, YG; Chilkoti, A; Zauscher, S

Published Date

  • August 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 3525 - 3535

PubMed ID

  • 30011192

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-4602

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1525-7797

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1021/acs.biomac.8b00816


  • eng