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Nat Chem. 2017 Nov;9(11):1056-1067. doi: 10.1038/nchem.2852. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

Engineering nucleic acid structures for programmable molecular circuitry and intracellular biocomputation.

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Division of Physical Biology & Bioimaging Center, Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, CAS Key Laboratory of Interfacial Physics and Technology, Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201800, China.
Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics at the Biodesign Institute & School of Molecular Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA.


Nucleic acids have attracted widespread attention due to the simplicity with which they can be designed to form discrete structures and programmed to perform specific functions at the nanoscale. The advantages of DNA/RNA nanotechnology offer numerous opportunities for in-cell and in-vivo applications, and the technology holds great promise to advance the growing field of synthetic biology. Many elegant examples have revealed the potential in integrating nucleic acid nanostructures in cells and in vivo where they can perform important physiological functions. In this Review, we summarize the current abilities of DNA/RNA nanotechnology to realize applications in live cells and then discuss the key problems that must be solved to fully exploit the useful properties of nanostructures. Finally, we provide viewpoints on how to integrate the tools provided by DNA/RNA nanotechnology and related new technologies to construct nucleic acid nanostructure-based molecular circuitry for synthetic biology.

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