Directed Enzymatic Activation of 1-D DNA Tiles


The tile assembly model is a Turing universal model of self-assembly where a set of square shaped tiles with programmable sticky sides undergo coordinated self-assembly to form arbitrary shapes, thereby computing arbitrary functions. Activatable tiles are a theoretical extension to the Tile assembly model that enhances its robustness by protecting the sticky sides of tiles until a tile is partially incorporated into a growing assembly. In this article, we experimentally demonstrate a simplified version of the Activatable tile assembly model. In particular, we demonstrate the simultaneous assembly of protected DNA tiles where a set of inert tiles are activated via a DNA polymerase to undergo linear assembly. We then demonstrate stepwise activated assembly where a set of inert tiles are activated sequentially one after another as a result of attachment to a growing 1-D assembly. We hope that these results will pave the way for more sophisticated demonstrations of activated assemblies.