Overview of Methods in RNA Nanotechnology: Synthesis, Purification, and Characterization of RNA Nanoparticles

  • Farzin HaqueEmail author
  • Peixuan Guo
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1297)


RNA nanotechnology encompasses the use of RNA as a construction material to build homogeneous nanostructures by bottom-up self-assembly with defined size, structure, and stoichiometry; this pioneering concept demonstrated in 1998 (Guo et al., Molecular Cell 2:149–155, 1998; featured in Cell) has emerged as a new field that also involves materials engineering and synthetic structural biology (Guo, Nature Nanotechnology 5:833–842, 2010). The field of RNA nanotechnology has skyrocketed over the last few years, as evidenced by the burst of publications in prominent journals on RNA nanostructures and their applications in nanomedicine and nanotechnology. Rapid advances in RNA chemistry, RNA biophysics, and RNA biology have created new opportunities for translating basic science into clinical practice. RNA nanotechnology holds considerable promise in this regard. Increased evidence also suggests that substantial part of the 98.5 % of human genome (Lander et al. Nature 409:860–921, 2001) that used to be called “junk DNA” actually codes for noncoding RNA. As we understand more on how RNA structures are related to function, we can fabricate synthetic RNA nanoparticles for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. This chapter provides a brief overview of the field regarding the design, construction, purification, and characterization of RNA nanoparticles for diverse applications in nanotechnology and nanomedicince.

Key words

RNA nanotechnology Nanomedicine Nanobiotechnology RNA therapeutics RNA nanoparticle pRNA Bacteriophage phi29 Ultracentrifugation PAGE HPLC AFM 



The research was supported by NIH grants R01-EB003730 and U01-CA151648 to P.G. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH. Funding to Peixuan Guo’s Endowed Chair in Nanobiotechnology position is from the William Fairish Endowment Fund. P.G. is a cofounder of Kylin Therapeutics, Inc., RNA Nano, LLC., and Biomotor and Nucleic Acid Nanotechnology Development Corp., Ltd.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanobiotechnology Center, Markey Cancer Center, Departmentof Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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