Engineering nucleic acid structures for programmable molecular circuitry and intracellular biocomputation

Jiang Li, Alexander Green, Hao Yan, Chunhai Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

223 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1056-1067
Number of pages12
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 25 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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