Precise control of biosystems requires development of materials that can dynamically change physicochemical properties. Inspired by the ability of proteins to alter their conformation to mediate function, we explored the use of DNA as molecular keys to assemble and transform colloidal nanoparticle systems. The systems consist of a core nanoparticle surrounded by small satellites, the conformation of which can be transformed in response to DNA via a toe-hold displacement mechanism. The conformational changes can alter the optical properties and biological interactions of the assembled nanosystem. Photoluminescent signal is altered by changes in fluorophore-modified particle distance, whereas cellular targeting efficiency is increased 2.5 times by changing the surface display of targeting ligands. These concepts provide strategies for engineering dynamic nanotechnology systems for navigating complex biological environments.