Silver nanoclusters for RNA nanotechnology: steps towards visualization and tracking of RNA nanoparticle assemblies

Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1297:59-66. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2562-9_4.


The growing interest in designing functionalized, RNA-based nanoparticles (NPs) for applications such as cancer therapeutics requires simple, efficient assembly assays. Common methods for tracking RNA assemblies such as native polyacrylamide gels and atomic force microscopy are often time-intensive and, therefore, undesirable. Here we describe a technique for rapid analysis of RNA NP assembly stages using the formation of fluorescent silver nanoclusters (Ag NCs). This method exploits the single-stranded specificity and sequence dependence of Ag NC formation to produce unique optical readouts for each stage of RNA NP assembly, obtained readily after synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Metal Nanoparticles / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • RNA / chemistry
  • RNA / ultrastructure*
  • Silver / chemistry


  • Silver
  • RNA