Biological macromolecules, including DNA, RNA, and proteins, have intrinsic features that make them potential building blocks for the bottom-up fabrication of nanodevices. Unlike DNA, RNA is a more versatile molecule whose range in the cell is from 21 to thousands of nucleotides and is usually folded into stem and loop structures. RNA is unique in nanoscale fabrication due to its diversity in size, function, and structure. Because gene expression analysis is becoming a clinical reality and there is a need to collect RNA in minute amounts from clinical samples, keeping the RNA intact is a growing challenge. RNA samples are notoriously difficult to handle because of their highly labile nature and tendency to degrade even under controlled RNase-free conditions and maintenance in the cold. Silencing the RNA that induces the RNA interference is viewed as the next generation of therapeutics. The stabilization and delivery of RNA to cells are the major concerns in making siRNAs usable drugs. For the first time, ultrasonic waves are shown to convert native RNA molecules to RNA nanospheres. The creation of the nanobubbles is performed by a one-step reaction. The RNA nanospheres are stable at room temperature for at least one month. Additionally, the nanospheres can be inserted into mammalian cancer cells (U2OS). This research achieves: 1) a solution to RNA storage; and 2) a way to convert RNA molecules to RNA particles. RNA nanosphere formation is a reversible process, and by using denaturing conditions, the RNA can be refolded into intact molecules.
- biomedical applications
- gene technology