Theranostics 2019; 9(11):3262-3279. doi:10.7150/thno.31885 This issue


DNA-supramolecule conjugates in theranostics

Kun Chen1*, Ting Fu1*, Weidi Sun1, Qin Huang1, Pengge Zhang1, Zilong Zhao1✉, Xiaobing Zhang1✉, Weihong Tan1,2,3✉

1. Molecular Science and Biomedicine Laboratory (MBL), State Key Laboratory for Chemo/Bio-Sensing and Chemometrics, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, College of Life Sciences, and Aptamer Engineering Center of Hunan Province, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, China;
2. Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM), Renji Hospital Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, and College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Shanghai (P. R. China).
3. Department of Chemistry, Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics, Center for Research at Bio/Nano Interface, UF Health Cancer Center, UF Genetics Institute and McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-7200, USA.
*Equal contribution

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Chen K, Fu T, Sun W, Huang Q, Zhang P, Zhao Z, Zhang X, Tan W. DNA-supramolecule conjugates in theranostics. Theranostics 2019; 9(11):3262-3279. doi:10.7150/thno.31885. Available from

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Graphic abstract

The elegant properties of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), such as accurate recognition, programmability and addressability, make it a well-defined and promising material to develop various molecular probes, drug delivery carriers and theranostic systems for cancer diagnosis and therapy. In addition, supramolecular chemistry, also termed "chemistry beyond the molecule", is a promising research field that aims to develop functional chemical systems by bringing discrete molecular components together in a manner that invokes noncovalent intermolecular forces, such as hydrophobic interaction, hydrogen bonding, metal coordination, and shape or size matching. Thus, DNA-supramolecule conjugates (DSCs) combine accurate recognition, programmability and addressability of DNA with the greater toolbox of supramolecular chemistry. This review discusses the applications of DSCs in sensing, protein activity regulation, cell behavior manipulation, and biomedicine.

Keywords: DNA-supramolecule conjugate, aptamer, supramolecular chemistry, DNA nanotechnology, host-guest interaction