Photocontrolled micellar aggregation of amphiphilic DNA-azobenzene conjugates.


We demonstrate the reversible micellar aggregation of a DNA-azobenzene conjugate in aqueous conditions, in which the photoisomerization of the initially apolar trans-azobenzene moiety to the polar cis isomer causes disassembly of the aggregates. The molecular basis for this phenomena is a change in the hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance of the conjugate as the more polar cis azobenzene isomer is formed upon exposure to 365 nm irradiation. The conjugates were prepared by copper-free Click chemistry between an azide-modified, 53-base ssDNA and a cyclooctyne derivative of azobenzene. The photocontrolled aggregation of the conjugate was studied by dynamic light scattering and atomic force microscopy. The reversible micellar aggregation for a DNA-azobenzene conjugate has not been previously reported and holds promise for photocontrolled drug delivery applications.