DNA-assisted swarm control in a biomolecular motor system

Jakia Jannat Keya, Ryuhei Suzuki, Arif Md Rashedul Kabir, Daisuke Inoue, Hiroyuki Asanuma, Kazuki Sada, Henry Hess, Akinori Kuzuya, Akira Kakugo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


In nature, swarming behavior has evolved repeatedly among motile organisms because it confers a variety of beneficial emergent properties. These include improved information gathering, protection from predators, and resource utilization. Some organisms, e.g., locusts, switch between solitary and swarm behavior in response to external stimuli. Aspects of swarming behavior have been demonstrated for motile supramolecular systems composed of biomolecular motors and cytoskeletal filaments, where cross-linkers induce large scale organization. The capabilities of such supramolecular systems may be further extended if the swarming behavior can be programmed and controlled. Here, we demonstrate that the swarming of DNA-functionalized microtubules (MTs) propelled by surface-adhered kinesin motors can be programmed and reversibly regulated by DNA signals. Emergent swarm behavior, such as translational and circular motion, can be selected by tuning the MT stiffness. Photoresponsive DNA containing azobenzene groups enables switching between solitary and swarm behavior in response to stimulation with visible or ultraviolet light.

Original languageEnglish
Article number453
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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