Functional Applications of Nucleic Acid–Protein Hybrid Nanostructures

Functional Applications of Nucleic Acid–Protein Hybrid Nanostructures
Proteins and nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) can be assembled together into hybrid nanostructures either by chemical conjugation methods or by exploiting sequence-specific DNA- or RNA-binding proteins.
Hybrid nucleic acid–protein nanostructures can be engineered for assembly into a diverse range of morphologies and functions, including tubes, cages, cross-membrane discs, and protein superlattices. These hybrid nanostructures can be used for targeted delivery of molecules, to enhance the reaction rates of enzyme cascades, and to serve as in vitro models for otherwise difficult-to-study biological phenomena.
Recent examples demonstrate that hybrid nanostructures can be produced and assembled intracellularly or in cell-free transcription and translation systems to reduce manufacturing costs for biotechnology applications.
Combining the diverse chemical functionality of proteins with the predictable structural assembly of nucleic acids has enabled the creation of hybrid nanostructures for a range of biotechnology applications. Through the attachment of proteins onto or within nucleic acid nanostructures, materials with dynamic capabilities can be created that include switchable enzyme activity, targeted drug delivery, and multienzyme cascades for biocatalysis. Investigations of difficult-to-study biological mechanisms have also been aided by using DNA–protein assemblies that mimic natural processes in a controllable manner. Furthermore, advances that enable the recombinant production and intracellular assembly of hybrid nanostructures have the potential to overcome the significant manufacturing cost that has limited the use of DNA and RNA nanotechnology.