Recent Advances in Self-Assembled DNA Nanostructures for Bioimaging

Qi Yang, Xu Chang, Jung Yeon Lee, Tiffany R. Olivera, Minu Saji, Henry Wisniewski, Suchan Kim, Fei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


DNA nanotechnology has been proven to be a powerful platform to assist the development of imaging probes for biomedical research. The attractive features of DNA nanostructures, such as nanometer precision, controllable size, programmable functions, and biocompatibility, have enabled researchers to design and customize DNA nanoprobes for bioimaging applications. However, DNA probes with low molecular weights (e.g., 10-100 nt) generally suffer from low stability in physiological buffer environments. To improve the stability of DNA nanoprobes in such environments, DNA nanostructures can be designed with relatively larger sizes and defined shapes. In addition, the established modification methods for DNA nanostructures are also essential in enhancing their properties and performances in a physiological environment. In this review, we begin with a brief recap of the development of DNA nanostructures including DNA tiles, DNA origami, and multifunctional DNA nanostructures with modifications. Then we highlight the recent advances of DNA nanostructures for bioimaging, emphasizing the latest developments in probe modifications and DNA-PAINT imaging. Multiple imaging modules for intracellular biomolecular imaging and cell membrane biomarkers recognition are also summarized. In the end, we discuss the advantages and challenges of applying DNA nanostructures in bioimaging research and speculate on its future developments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


  • DNA nanotechnology
  • DNA-PAINT imaging
  • bioimaging modules
  • biomolecules
  • cellular imaging
  • in vitro


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