RNA nanotechnology is a young field with many potential applications. The goal is to utilize designed RNA strands, such that the obtained constructs have specific properties in terms of shape and functionality. RNA has potential functionalities that are comparable to that of proteins, but possesses (compared to proteins) simpler design principles akin to DNA. The promise is that designed RNA complexes may make possible novel types of molecular assemblies with applications in medicine (as therapeutics or diagnostics), material science, imaging, structural biology, and basic research.
Using this approach, scientists have shown that they can design RNAs that self-assemble into predefined shapes (such as rings, cubes, tetrahedrons, or lattices). Furthermore, designed RNAs can be programmed to impart different functionalities such as gene knockdown via RNA interference, temperature-specific behavior or RNA-based logic or multi-functional assemblies.
These successes, however, are typically only possible due to the use of specialized computational and experimental approaches. Repeating achievements based on regular research papers are frequently challenging if the methods are described only briefly. It is therefore, particularly useful that detailed protocols provided by leading experts in the field are compiled as a unit, thus making the current state of the art accessible to scientists entering the field. Presented in this book are 23 chapters representing a spectrum of computational and experimental protocols pertaining to the creation, characterization, and utilization of RNA nanostructures.
Bindewald E, Shapiro BA (Editors). RNA Nanostructures – Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1632, Humana Press, New York, 2017.