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Programmable nucleic acids have emerged as powerful building blocks for the bottom-up fabrication of two- or three-dimensional nano- and microsized constructs. Here we describe the construction of organic-inorganic hybrid RNA flowers (hRNFs) via rolling circle transcription (RCT), an enzyme-catalyzed nucleic acid amplification reaction. These hRNFs are highly adaptive structures with controlled sizes, specific nucleic acid sequences, and a highly porous nature. We demonstrated that hRNFs are applicable as potential biological platforms, where the hRNF scaffold can be engineered for versatile surface functionalization and the inorganic component (magnesium ions) can serve as an enzyme cofactor. For surface functionalization, we proposed robust and straightforward approaches including in situ synthesis of functional hRNFs and postfunctionalization of hRNFs that enable facile conjugation with various biomolecules and nanomaterials (i.e., proteins, enzymes, organic dyes, inorganic nanoparticles) using selective chemistries (i.e., avidin-biotin interaction, copper-free click reaction). In particular, we showed that hRNFs can serve as soft scaffolds for β-galactosidase immobilization and greatly enhance enzymatic activity and stability. Therefore, the proposed concepts and methodologies are not only fundamentally interesting when designing RNA scaffolds or RNA bionanomaterials assembled with enzymes but also have significant implications on their future utilization in biomedical applications ranging from enzyme cascades to biosensing and drug delivery.

Original publication




Journal article


ACS Appl Mater Interfaces

Publication Date





22932 - 22940


RNA flowers, allosteric effect, enzymatic study, enzyme immobilization, organic−inorganic hybrid structures, rolling circle transcription, Catalysis, Enzymes, Immobilized, Nanostructures, Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques, Porosity, Proteins, RNA