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How to play LEGO with RNA: design of RNA cellular automata

Luc Jaeger* and Arkadiusz Chworos

Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, University of California, Santa Barbara,
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9510 USA

This is an abstract for a presentation given at the
11th Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology


RNA tectonics refers to the construction of beautiful and useful artificial RNA supra-molecular architectures and takes advantage of the knowledge of folding rules and assembly rules governing the three-dimensional shape of complex natural RNA molecules (1). We have recently demonstrated our ability to generate tectoRNAs, self-assembling RNA building blocks that are designed and programmed to generate RNA super-architectures in a highly predictable manner (2,3). In other words, tectoRNAs can be perceived as "smart" LEGO pieces that can find their way to assemble into a final supra-molecular object. For instance, by using a combination of theoretical and experimental approaches, we can predict, design and control the self-assembly of tectoRNAs into directional nano-fibers with different supra-molecular topologies and geometries (4,5). TectoRNAs that self-assemble into precise geometrical figures are presently used to generate cellular automata (5). Our latest results that aim at using these automata to design programmable self-assembling RNA arrays will be presented. RNA tectonics opens the way to the creation of novel scaffoldings for the generation of "smart" biomaterials. It can also be used as a powerful mean to decipher the logic of RNA assembly.


[1] Westhof, E. Masquida, B. & Jaeger L. Fold. Des. (1996), 1, 78-88.
[2] Jaeger, L. & Leontis, N. B. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (2000), 14, 2521-2524.
[3] Jaeger, L, Westhof, E. & Leontis, N.B. Nucleic Acid Res. (2001), 29, 455-463.
[4] Baudrey, S., Nasalean, L. Leontis, N.B. & Jaeger, L. (2003) In preparation.
[5] Chworos, A., Oroudjev, E., Weinkam, P., Hansma, H. & Jaeger, L. (2003) In preparation.

Abstract in Microsoft Word® format 20,806 bytes

*Corresponding Address:
Luc Jaeger
Chemistry and Biochemistry Department
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9510 USA
Phone: 805 893 3628 Fax: 805 893 4120


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