RNA versatility, flexibility, and thermostability for practice in RNA nanotechnology and biomedical applications.

Haque F, Pi F, Zhao Z, Gu S, Hu H, Yu H, Guo P
Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA 9 01/01/2018


In recent years, RNA has attracted widespread attention as a unique biomaterial with distinct biophysical properties for designing sophisticated architectures in the nanometer scale. RNA is much more versatile in structure and function with higher thermodynamic stability compared to its nucleic acid counterpart DNA. Larger RNA molecules can be viewed as a modular structure built from a combination of many 'Lego' building blocks connected via different linker sequences. By exploiting the diversity of RNA motifs and flexibility of structure, varieties of RNA architectures can be fabricated with precise control of shape, size, and stoichiometry. Many structural motifs have been discovered and characterized over the years and the crystal structures of many of these motifs are available for nanoparticle construction. For example, using the flexibility and versatility of RNA structure, RNA triangles, squares, pentagons, and hexagons can be constructed from phi29 pRNA three-way-junction (3WJ) building block. This review will focus on 2D RNA triangles, squares, and hexamers; 3D and 4D structures built from basic RNA building blocks; and their prospective applications in vivo as imaging or therapeutic agents via specific delivery and targeting. Methods for intracellular cloning and expression of RNA molecules and the in vivo assembly of RNA nanoparticles will also be reviewed. WIREs RNA 2018, 9:e1452. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1452 This article is categorized under: RNA Methods > RNA Nanotechnology RNA Structure and Dynamics > RNA Structure, Dynamics and Chemistry RNA in Disease and Development > RNA in Disease Regulatory RNAs/RNAi/Riboswitches > Regulatory RNAs.

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