The Use of Minimal RNA Toeholds to Trigger the Activation of Multiple Functionalities

Current work reports the use of single-stranded RNA toeholds of different lengths to promote the reassociation of various RNA–DNA hybrids, which results in activation of multiple split functionalities inside human cells. The process of reassociation is analyzed and followed with a novel computational multistrand secondary structure prediction algorithm and various experiments. All of our previously designed RNA/DNA nanoparticles employed single-stranded DNA toeholds to initiate reassociation. The use of RNA toeholds is advantageous because of the simpler design rules, the shorter toeholds, and the smaller size of the resulting nanoparticles (by up to 120 nucleotides per particle) compared to the same hybrid nanoparticles with single-stranded DNA toeholds. Moreover, the cotranscriptional assemblies result in higher yields for hybrid nanoparticles with ssRNA toeholds.