IMR Press / FBL / Volume 27 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.31083/j.fbl2702061
Open Access Review
Advancements in 3WJ-based RNA nanotechnology and its application for cancer diagnosis and therapy
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1 Faculty of Environment and Life, Beijing University of Technology, 100124 Beijing, China
2 College of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Shenyang Agricultural University, 110866 Shenyang, Liaoning, China
3 Nanopeptide (Qingdao) Biotechnology Ltd., 266000 Qingdao, Shandong, China
4 Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine, 100176 Beijing, China
5 CAS Engineering Laboratory for Nanozyme, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academic of Science, 100101 Beijing, China
*Correspondence: (Jian Liu); (Demin Duan)
Academic Editor: Elena Levantini
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2022, 27(2), 61;
Submitted: 16 November 2021 | Revised: 13 December 2021 | Accepted: 13 December 2021 | Published: 14 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Cancer Research and Environmental Toxicology)
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: This attractive and intriguing Ribonucleic acid (RNA) nanotechnology has been conceptualized over the last two decades and with our increasing understanding of RNA structure and function and improvements of RNA nanotechnology it is now possible to use this in clinical settings. Methods: Here we review the unique properties and the recent advances in RNA nanotechnology and then look at its scientific and preclinical applications for tumor diagnosis and targeted delivery and RNA-based therapy using RNA nanoparticles with diverse structures and functions. Finally, we discuss the future perspectives and challenges to RNA nanotechnology. Results: RNA can be designed and manipulated in a similar way to DNA while having different rules for base-pairing and displaying functions similar to proteins. Rationally designed RNA nanoparticles based on the three-way junction (3WJ) motif as the core scaffold have been extensively explored in the field of nanomedicine and targeted cancer diagnosis and therapy. Conclusions: RNA nanostructures based on 3WJs demonstrate promising future applications due to their thermal stability, molecular-level plasticity, multifunctional chemotherapeutic drug delivery and other intrinsic characteristics, which will greatly improve the treatment of cancer and promote further major breakthroughs in this field.

RNA nanotechnology
3WJ motif
Bacteriophage phi29 pRNA
RNA nanoparticles
targeted cancer therapy
Fig. 1.
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