Tunable DNA Hybridization Enables Spatially and Temporally Controlled Surface-Anchoring of Biomolecular Cargo

Roland Hager, Andreas Arnold, Eva Sevcsik, Gerhard J. Schütz, Stefan Howorka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The controlled immobilization of biomolecules onto surfaces is relevant in biosensing and cell biological research. Spatial control is achieved by surface-tethering molecules in micro- or nanoscale patterns. Yet, there is an increasing demand for temporal control over how long biomolecular cargo stays immobilized until released into the medium. Here, we present a DNA hybridization-based approach to reversibly anchor biomolecular cargo onto micropatterned surfaces. Cargo is linked to a DNA oligonucleotide that hybridizes to a sequence-complementary, surface-tethered strand. The cargo is released from the substrate by the addition of an oligonucleotide that disrupts the duplex interaction via toehold-mediated strand displacement. The unbound tether strand can be reloaded. The generic strategy is implemented with small-molecule or protein cargo, varying DNA sequences, and multiple surface patterning routes. The approach may be used as a tool in biological research to switch membrane proteins from a locally fixed to a free state, or in biosensing to shed biomolecular receptors to regenerate the sensor surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15021-15027
Number of pages7
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Biotin/chemistry
  • Cattle
  • DNA, A-Form/chemistry
  • Glass/chemistry
  • Immobilized Nucleic Acids/chemistry
  • Immobilized Proteins/chemistry
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides/chemistry
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine/chemistry
  • Streptavidin/chemistry
  • Surface Properties


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