by J. Deng and A. Walther
Concatenation and communication between chemically distinct chemical reaction networks (CRNs) is an essential principle in biology for controlling dynamics of hierarchical structures. Here, to provide a model system for such biological systems, we demonstrate autonomous lifecycles of DNA nanotubes (DNTs) by two concatenated CRNs using different thermodynamic principles: (1) ATP-powered ligation/restriction of DNA components and (2) input strand-mediated DNA strand displacement (DSD) using energy gains provided in DNA toeholds. This allows to achieve hierarchical non-equilibrium systems by concurrent ATP-powered ligation-induced DSD for activating DNT self-assembly and restriction-induced backward DSD reactions for triggering DNT degradation. We introduce indirect and direct activation of DNT self-assemblies, and orthogonal molecular recognition allows ATP-fueled self-sorting of transient multicomponent DNTs. Coupling ATP dissipation to DNA nanostructures via programmable DSD is a generic concept which should be widely applicable to organize other DNA nanostructures, and enable the design of automatons and life-like systems of higher structural complexity.