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Science. 2011 Jul 22;333(6041):470-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1206938. Epub 2011 Jun 23.

Organization of intracellular reactions with rationally designed RNA assemblies.

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  • 1Harvard Medical School, Department of Systems Biology, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The rules of nucleic acid base-pairing have been used to construct nanoscale architectures and organize biomolecules, but little has been done to apply this technology in vivo. We designed and assembled multidimensional RNA structures and used them as scaffolds for the spatial organization of bacterial metabolism. Engineered RNA modules were assembled into discrete, one-dimensional, and two-dimensional scaffolds with distinct protein-docking sites and used to control the spatial organization of a hydrogen-producing pathway. We increased hydrogen output as a function of scaffold architecture. Rationally designed RNA assemblies can thus be used to construct functional architectures in vivo.

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