RNA aptamers that bind non-fluorescent dyes and activate their fluorescence are highly sensitive, nonperturbing, and convenient probes in the field of synthetic biology. These RNA molecules, referred to as light-up aptamers, operate as molecular nanoswitches that alter folding and fluorescence function in response to ligand binding, which is important in biosensing and molecular computing. Herein, we demonstrate a conceptually new generation of smart RNA nano-devices based on malachite green (MG)-binding RNA aptamer, which fluorescence output controlled by addition of short DNA oligonucleotides inputs. Four types of RNA switches possessing AND, OR, NAND, and NOR Boolean logic functions were created in modular form, allowing MG dye binding affinity to be changed by altering 3D conformation of the RNA aptamer. It is essential to develop higher-level logic circuits for the production of multi-task nanodevices for data processing, typically requiring combinatorial logic gates. Therefore, we further designed and synthetized higher-level half adder logic circuit by “in parallel” integration of two logic gates XOR and AND within a single RNA nanoparticle. The design utilizes fluorescence emissions from two different RNA aptamers: MG-binding RNA aptamer (AND gate) and Broccoli RNA aptamer that binds DFHBI dye (XOR gate). All computationally designed RNA devices were synthesized and experimentally tested in vitro. The ability to design smart nanodevices based on RNA binding aptamers offers a new route to engineer “label-free” ligand-sensing regulatory circuits, nucleic acid detection systems, and gene control elements.
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