[Synthetic RNA technologies to control functions of mammalian cells]

Yakugaku Zasshi. 2015;135(3):399-404. doi: 10.1248/yakushi.14-00240-4.
[Article in Japanese]


We recently succeeded in producing nanostructures made of RNA-protein (RNP) complexes. We show that RNA and the ribosomal protein L7Ae can form a triangular-like nanostructure that consists of three L7Ae proteins, which form the apices of the triangle, bound to one RNA scaffold. This shape is created through a 60° kink introduced into the RNA structure on L7Ae binding. By varying the size of the RNA scaffold we could in turn alter the overall size of the triangular nanostructure. Several functions can be added to this nanostructure by the introduction of effector proteins fused to L7Ae. The design and construction of functional RNP nanostructures that detect specific cancer cells are discussed herein. In parallel, we developed synthetic RNP translational switches to control production levels of particular proteins depending on certain input(s) within the intracellular environment. The RNP-binding module was successfully incorporated into mRNA to generate functional RNP switches. The designed ON/OFF translational switches detect expression of the trigger factor and repress or activate expression of a desired protein (e.g., apoptosis regulator) in target mammalian cells. Taken together, RNP-binding module could be employed for constructing designer genetic switches and functional nanostructures to regulate cellular processes.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Humans
  • Nanostructures
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA / chemical synthesis
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA / ultrastructure
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / ultrastructure


  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • RNA