DNA origami as first presented by Rothemund has become a versatile tool with great potential in many different research areas such as nanotechnology, biophysics, as well as fundamental research at a single molecule level. By hybridization of a given single stranded DNA scaffold with specially designed oligonucleotides one can achieve self-assembly of almost arbitrary structures. Furthermore, functional entities such as proteins can be arranged on a DNA origami with nanometer precision by chemical modification of selected staple strands which makes DNA origami nanostructures particularly useful as substrates for single molecule studies. Such applications critically rely at an intact DNA origami in order to obtain the desired molecular arrangements.
Thus, we her investigate the effects of staple age on the self-assembly and stability of DNA origami triangles and six-helix bundles (6HB). Our results show that the respective staple solution may be stored at -20°C for several years without significantly affecting DNA origami assembly. At the same time, however, staple age may have drastic effects on DNA origami stability under mildly denaturing conditions, as exemplified here for the washing of surface-immobilized DNA origami with water. Furthermore, these effects are found to depend on DNA origami shape and structure.