Using Planar Phi29 pRNA Three-Way Junction to Control Size and Shape of RNA Nanoparticles for Biodistribution Profiling in Mice

  • Farzin Haque
  • Congcong Xu
  • Daniel L. Jasinski
  • Hui Li
  • Peixuan GuoEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1632)


RNA is rapidly emerging as a versatile building block for nanoparticle assembly due to its simplicity in base pairing, while exhibiting diversity in function such as enzymatic activity similar to some proteins. Recent advances in RNA nanotechnology have generated significant interests in applying RNA nanoparticles for various applications in nanotechnology and nanomedicine. In particular, assessing the effect of size and shape on cell entry and intracellular trafficking as well as in vivo biodistribution of nanoparticles is challenging due to the lack of nanoparticles rich in structure while varying in size and shape. RNA nanotechnology exemplified by the packaging RNA (pRNA) of bacteriophage phi29 DNA packaging motor has provided a different prospect in nanoparticle designs. Of note, there is a robust three-way junction (3WJ) motif in pRNA which can serve as an adaptable scaffold to construct thermodynamically stable 2D planar and 3D globular RNA architectures with tunable shapes and sizes, and harboring various targeting, therapeutic, and imaging modules. This chapter focuses on the methods for constructing pRNA-3WJ based nanoparticles with controllable sizes and shapes, and assessment of their biodistribution profiles in cancer mouse models after systemic injection and ocular mouse models following subconjunctival injection.

Key words

Nanobiotechnology RNA nanoparticle 3WJ pRNA Subcutaneous and orthotopic xenograft Ocular delivery Subconjunctival injection 



The research was supported by NIH grants R01EB019036, U01CA151648 and U01CA207946. P.G.’s Sylvan G. Frank Endowed Chair position in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery is funded by the CM Chen Foundation. P.G. is the founder of P&Z Biological Technology and a consultant of Oxford Nanopore and Nanobiodelivery Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farzin Haque
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Congcong Xu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Daniel L. Jasinski
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hui Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Peixuan Guo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, College of PharmacyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, College of MedicineThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research InstituteThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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