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Inspired by biological systems, many biomimetic methods suggest fabrication of functional materials with unique physicochemical properties. Such methods frequently generate organic-inorganic composites that feature highly ordered hierarchical structures with intriguing properties, distinct from their individual components. A striking example is that of DNA-inorganic hybrid micro/nanostructures, fabricated by the rolling circle technique. Here, a novel concept for the encapsulation of bioactive proteins in DNA flowers (DNF) while maintaining the activity of protein payloads is reported. A wide range of proteins, including enzymes, can be simultaneously associated with the growing DNA strands and Mg2 PPi crystals during the rolling circle process, ultimately leading to the direct immobilization of proteins into DNF. The unique porous structure of this construct, along with the abundance of Mg ions and DNA molecules present, provides many interaction sites for proteins, enabling high loading efficiency and enhanced stability. Further, as a proof of concept, it is demonstrated that the DNF can deliver payloads of cytotoxic protein (i.e., RNase A) to the cells without a loss in its biological function and structural integrity, resulting in highly increased cell death compared to the free protein.

Original publication




Journal article


Adv Mater

Publication Date





DNA flowers, cytotoxicity, one-pot synthesis, protein delivery, protein encapsulation, DNA, Flowers, Nanostructures, Proteins