Journal of East China Normal University(Natural Science) ›› 2023, Vol. 2023 ›› Issue (1): 177-185.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1000-5641.2023.01.018

• Green Chemical Analysis • Previous Articles    

Biomedical applications of synthetic nucleic acid engineering

Mengyao CAO, Li LI*(), Hao PEI*()   

  1. Shanghai Key Laboratory of Green Chemistry and Chemical Processes, School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Received:2022-06-29 Accepted:2022-09-09 Online:2023-01-25 Published:2023-01-07
  • Contact: Li LI,Hao PEI;


The simple rule of base-pairing of nucleic acids enables nucleic acid structures to be designed via powerful energy-based prediction tools. Thus, nucleic acid structures have attracted considerable attention owing to their ability to fold into a variety of synthetic structures. However, the lack of chemical diversity of nucleic acid bases makes nucleic acid structures less functionally diverse than proteins, thereby limiting their practical applications. This review focuses on the underlying technology of nucleic acid molecular engineering, especially on the studies of nucleic acid structures and their molecular interactions. As nucleic acid structures are fully spatially addressable, a diversity of particles could be linked to designated positions on the surface of nucleic acid structures. Additionally, the intermolecular reaction kinetics of nucleic acids could be continuously fine-tuned by rational design of nucleic acid sequences. This review also summarizes the development of synthetic molecular networks, dynamic molecular machines, and nucleic acid-based biomaterials, as well as the application of these as green biomedical devices in biomolecular recognition, cell surface engineering, and biocatalysis.

Key words: synthetic nucleic acid molecular engineering, biomolecular recognition, cell surface engineering, biocatalysis

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