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Keywords:

  • DNA;
  • logic gates;
  • molecular beacons;
  • molecular electronics

Abstract

A new platform technology is herein described with which to construct molecular logic gates by employing the hairpin-structured molecular beacon probe as a basic work unit. In this logic gate operation system, single-stranded DNA is used as the input to induce a conformational change in a molecular beacon probe through a sequence-specific interaction. The fluorescent signal resulting from the opening of the molecular beacon probe is then used as the output readout. Importantly, because the logic gates are based on DNA, thus permitting input/output homogeneity to be preserved, their wiring into multi-level circuits can be achieved by combining separately operated logic gates or by designing the DNA output of one gate as the input to the other. With this novel strategy, a complete set of two-input logic gates is successfully constructed at the molecular level, including OR, AND, XOR, INHIBIT, NOR, NAND, XNOR, and IMPLICATION. The logic gates developed herein can be reversibly operated to perform the set-reset function by applying an additional input or a removal strand. Together, these results introduce a new platform technology for logic gate operation that enables the higher-order circuits required for complex communication between various computational elements.