Functional assembly of aptamer binding sites by single-molecule cut-and-paste

Mathias Strackharn, Stefan W. Stahl, Elias M. Puchner, Hermann E. Gaub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Bottom up assembly of functional molecular ensembles with novel properties emerging from composition and arrangement of its constituents is a prime goal of nanotechnology. By single-molecule cut-and-paste we assembled binding sites for malachite green in a molecule-by-molecule assembly process from the two halves of a split aptamer. We show that only a perfectly joined binding site immobilizes the fluorophore and enhances the fluorescence quantum yield by several orders of magnitude. To corroborate the robustness of this approach we produced a micrometer-sized structure consisting of more than 500 reconstituted binding sites. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of one by one bottom up functional biomolecular assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2425-2428
Number of pages4
JournalNano letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 9 2012


  • Functional assembly
  • RNA aptamer
  • atomic force microscope (AFM)
  • single-molecule cut-and-paste
  • single-molecule fluorescence
  • single-molecule force spectroscopy


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