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A coordination polymer for the site-specific integration of semiconducting sequences into DNA-based materials

Lookup NU author(s): Lamia Al-Mahamad, Dr Osama El-ZubirORCiD, Dr David Smith, Dr Ben Horrocks, Professor Andrew HoultonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Advances in bottom-up material design have been significantly progressed through DNA-based approaches. However, the routine integration of semiconducting properties, particularly long-range electrical conduction, into the basic topological motif of DNA remains challenging. Here, we demonstrate this with a coordination polymer derived from 6-thioguanosine (6-TG-H), a sulfur-containing analog of a natural nucleoside. The complexation reaction with Au(I) ions spontaneously assembles luminescent one-dimensional helical chains, characterized as {AuI(μ-6-TG)} n , extending many μm in length that are structurally analogous to natural DNA. Uniquely, for such a material, this gold-thiolate can be transformed into a wire-like conducting form by oxidative doping. We also show that this self-assembly reaction is compatible with a 6-TG-modified DNA duplex and provides a straightforward method by which to integrate semiconducting sequences, site-specifically, into the framework of DNA materials, transforming their properties in a fundamental and technologically useful manner.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Al-Mahamad LLG, El-Zubir O, Smith DG, Horrocks BR, Houlton A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Communications

Year: 2017

Volume: 8

Online publication date: 28/09/2017

Acceptance date: 31/07/2017

Date deposited: 03/10/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2041-1723

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00852-6

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