Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Advances in Nucleic Acid Research: Exploring the Potential of Oligonucleotides for Therapeutic Applications and Biological Studies

In recent years, nucleic acids have emerged as powerful biomaterials, revolutionizing the field of biomedicine. This review explores the multifaceted applications of nucleic acids, focusing on their pivotal role in various biomedical applications. Nucleic acids, including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), possess unique properties such as molecular recognition ability, programmability, and ease of synthesis, making them versatile tools in biosensing and for gene regulation, drug delivery, and targeted therapy. Their compatibility with chemical modifications enhances their binding affinity and resistance to degradation, elevating their effectiveness in targeted applications. Additionally, nucleic acids have found utility as self-assembling building blocks, leading to the creation of nanostructures whose high order underpins their enhanced biological stability and affects the cellular uptake efficiency. Furthermore, this review delves into the significant role of oligonucleotides (ODNs) as indispensable tools for biological studies and biomarker discovery. ODNs, short sequences of nucleic acids, have been instrumental in unraveling complex biological mechanisms. They serve as probes for studying gene expression, protein interactions, and cellular pathways, providing invaluable insights into fundamental biological processes. By examining the synergistic interplay between nucleic acids as powerful biomaterials and ODNs as indispensable tools for biological studies and biomarkers, this review highlights the transformative impact of these molecules on biomedical research. Their versatile applications not only deepen our understanding of biological systems but also are the driving force for innovation in diagnostics and therapeutics, ultimately advancing the field of biomedicine.

International journal of molecular sciences (Online)
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Maria Moccia 1, Barbara Pascucci 1, Michele Saviano 2, Maria Teresa Cerasa 3, Michael A. Terzidis 4, Chryssostomos Chatgilialoglu 5,6, Annalisa Masi 1