Convergent self assembly

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Experimental example demonstrations

As of before 2020 convergent self assembly (or convergent thermally driven assembly)
has already been experimentally demonstrated in structural DNA nanotechnology (SDN).
Specifically this was demonstrated with the DNA brick approach.

(wiki-TODO: add reference links to the relevant papers)
(wiki-TODO: add a sketch of the process)

First assembly level

In the first assembly step the right set of "DNA bricks" (which are short pieces of floppy singe stranded DNA aka DNA oligomers) are
mixed together and thermally annealed to self assemble to bigger somewhat stiff and squarish blocks.

Second assembly level

In the second assembly level these some bigger blocks with complementary shapes where made to self assemble to even bigger multi block structures by means of salt concentration changed.


SDN stiffness and environment limitations

The stiffness of SDN structures just barely is sufficient to hold them in somewhat squarish shapes.
Minor issue: There is a slight natural twist to the bigger squarish blocks.
This is all performed in solution.
Given the low stiffness and high charges on DNA it's seems quite likely that
drying these structures out could make them shrivel up, deform and maybe break in some way.
(TODO: investigate this).

de-novo protein alternatives

Something in some way similar has not yet been demonstrated with more stiff proteins.
Thinkable would be:

  • A direct analogy with short peptide chains taking the place of of protein oligomers
  • Using wolde folded de-novo proteins as bricks

The latter suffers from the situation that in de-novo protein systems it is hard
to get bigger sets of orthogonal sets of interfaces.

The former suffers from the situation that proteins are
by evolution not as specifically tailored to pairing up as DNA is.

other foldamers or polymers

TODO ...


In more advanced technology levels with positional control