RNA is a functionally versatile polymer but suffers from susceptibility to spontaneous and RNase-catalyzed degradation. This vulnerability makes it difficult to preserve RNA for extended periods of time, thus limiting its use in various contexts, including practical applications as functional nucleic acids. Here we present a simple method to preserve RNA by pullulan (a complex sugar produced by Aureobasidium pullulans fungus) film formation. This strategy can markedly suppress both spontaneous and RNase degradation. Importantly, the pullulan film readily dissolves in aqueous solution, thus allowing retrieval of fully functional RNA species. In order to illustrate the advantage of this protective method in a practical application, we engineered a simple paper sensor containing a bacteria-detecting RNA-cleaving DNAzyme. This detection capability of the device was unchanged after storage at room temperature for six months.
Keywords: DNAzyme; RNA; bacterial detection; pullulan; sensors.
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