RNA nanotechnology is attracting a great deal of attention recently. As the multiple roles that RNA plays in molecular biology and physiological regulation become clearer, there are many opportunities for engineering RNA-Nanoparticle Complexes (RNA-NPCs). The high “engineerability” of RNA-NPCs comes from the ability to modify the RNA and NP chemistry. For example, the NP can be derived from materials with anticancer activity and the RNA delivered by it, designed to target cell signaling pathways that contribute to the molecular basis of these diseases. Despite this rapid advancement and the availability of new quantification and characterization techniques, a key challenge is to develop a better understanding of the RNA-nanobio interface; that is, the interactions of RNA with NP (RNA-nanobio interface) and how that impacts the structure, function, delivery, and activity of the RNA. Here, we attempt to summarize the state-of-the-art in this new and exciting field, and to lay out potential directions for bioengineering research on RNA-NPCs.
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