RNA-DNA fibers and polygons with controlled immunorecognition activate RNAi, FRET and transcriptional regulation of NF-κB in human cells

Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 Feb 20;47(3):1350-1361. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky1215.


Nucleic acid-based assemblies that interact with each other and further communicate with the cellular machinery in a controlled manner represent a new class of reconfigurable materials that can overcome limitations of traditional biochemical approaches and improve the potential therapeutic utility of nucleic acids. This notion enables the development of novel biocompatible 'smart' devices and biosensors with precisely controlled physicochemical and biological properties. We extend this novel concept by designing RNA-DNA fibers and polygons that are able to cooperate in different human cell lines and that have defined immunostimulatory properties confirmed by ex vivo experiments. The mutual intracellular interaction of constructs results in the release of a large number of different siRNAs while giving a fluorescent response and activating NF-κB decoy DNA oligonucleotides. This work expands the possibilities of nucleic acid technologies by (i) introducing very simple design principles and assembly protocols; (ii) potentially allowing for a simultaneous release of various siRNAs together with functional DNA sequences and (iii) providing controlled rates of reassociation, stabilities in human blood serum, and immunorecognition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / genetics*
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / genetics*
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / genetics
  • Oligonucleotides / chemistry
  • Oligonucleotides / genetics
  • RNA / chemistry
  • RNA / genetics*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • NF-kappa B
  • NF-kappaB decoy
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Oligonucleotides
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA
  • DNA