Nucleic acid nanotechnology offers many methods to build self-assembled structures using RNA and DNA. These scaffolds are valuable in multiple applications, such as sensing, drug delivery and nanofabrication. Although RNA and DNA are similar molecules, they also have unique chemical and structural properties. RNA is generally less stable than DNA, but it folds into a variety of tertiary motifs that can be used to produce complex and functional nanostructures. Another advantage of using RNA over DNA is its ability to be encoded into genes and to be expressed in vivo. Here we review existing approaches for the self-assembly of RNA and DNA nanostructures and specifically methods to assemble large RNA structures. We describe de novo design approaches used in DNA nanotechnology that can be ported to RNA. Lastly, we discuss some of the challenges yet to be solved to build micron-scale, multi stranded RNA scaffolds.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.