Leyla Raiani
Jul 26, 2012

Nanoparticle conjugates mimic RNA interference

A new type of nanoparticle-based conjugate is a promising alternative to RNA interference (RNAi) agents for controlling gene expression. Nanozymes are gold nanoparticles decorated both with DNA sequences and endoribonucleases. The DNA sequences act like siRNA strands in that they complement the target RNAs. And the nanozyme endoribonucleases, like RISC endoribonucleases, are capable of cleaving those target RNAs.The researchers at University of Florida demonstrated the capabilities of the conjugates, which they call nanozymes, by using them to split viral RNA and suppress viral replication in cultured cells and in mice. Results show that these nanozymes are more stable, longer lasting, and less toxic than RNAi agents. If those qualities prove out in future work, nanozymes may have potential as therapeutics for diseases that can be treated by controlling gene expression.