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Spatiotemporal control of DNA-based chemical reaction network via electrochemical activation in microfluidics.

ABSTRACT

In recent years, DNA computing frameworks have been developed to create dynamical systems which can be used for information processing. These emerging synthetic biochemistry tools can be leveraged to gain a better understanding of fundamental biology but can also be implemented in biosensors and unconventional computing. Most of the efforts so far have focused on changing the topologies of DNA molecular networks or scaling them up. Several issues have thus received little attention and remain to be solved to turn them into real life technologies. In particular, the ability to easily interact in real-time with them is a key requirement. The previous attempts to achieve this aim have used microfluidic approaches, such as valves, which are cumbersome. We show that electrochemical triggering using DNA-grafted micro-fabricated gold electrodes can be used to give instructions to these molecular systems. We demonstrate how this approach can be used to release at specific times and locations DNA- based instructions. In particular, we trigger reaction-diffusion autocatalytic fronts in microfluidic channels. While limited by the stability of the Au-S bond, this easy to implement, versatile and scalable technique can be used in any biology laboratory to provide new ways to interact with any DNA-based computing framework.