Designer DNA nanostructures for viral inhibition

Shaokang Ren, Keith Fraser, Lili Kuo, Neha Chauhan, Addison T. Adrian, Fuming Zhang, Robert J. Linhardt, Paul S. Kwon, Xing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Emerging viral diseases can substantially threaten national and global public health. Central to our ability to successfully tackle these diseases is the need to quickly detect the causative virus and neutralize it efficiently. Here we present the rational design of DNA nanostructures to inhibit dengue virus infection. The designer DNA nanostructure (DDN) can bind to complementary epitopes on antigens dispersed across the surface of a viral particle. Since these antigens are arranged in a defined geometric pattern that is unique to each virus, the structure of the DDN is designed to mirror the spatial arrangement of antigens on the viral particle, providing very high viral binding avidity. We describe how available structural data can be used to identify unique spatial patterns of antigens on the surface of a viral particle. We then present a procedure for synthesizing DDNs using a combination of in silico design principles, self-assembly, and characterization using gel electrophoresis, atomic force microscopy and surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. Finally, we evaluate the efficacy of a DDN in inhibiting dengue virus infection via plaque-forming assays. We expect this protocol to take 2–3 d to complete virus antigen pattern identification from existing cryogenic electron microscopy data, ~2 weeks for DDN design, synthesis, and virus binding characterization, and ~2 weeks for DDN cytotoxicity and antiviral efficacy assays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-326
Number of pages45
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


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