Background: Imaging of RNA in vivo is of great significance for elucidating their biological functions, revealing mechanisms behind disease, and for further diagnosis and treatment. Over the past decade, a variety of DNA-based molecular imaging techniques have been developed for RNA imaging in living cells. Nevertheless, non-invasive imaging of RNA in animals is still limited.
Methods: An overview of the literature involving RNA imaging in vivo based on the integration of DNA probes with nanotechnology has been reviewed.
Results: Attributed to DNA’s designability of sequences and specificity of recognition, molecular beacon, strand displacement and hybridization chain reaction would confer quick, efficient and specific response to target RNA. Multifunctional nanomaterials provide powerful support for the intracellular delivery of such DNA probes with spatiotemporal control over their sensing function, thereby achieving RNA imaging in vivo.
Conclusion: Merging DNA probes with nanotechnology has gained substantial prospects for RNA imaging in vivo, which not only helps us to better elucidate biological functions of RNA, but also provides valuable information for further disease diagnosis and treatment.