Development of RNA/DNA hydrogel targeting Toll-like receptor 7/8 for sustained RNA release and potent immune activation

Fusae Komura, Kana Okuzumi, Yuki Takahashi, Yoshinobu Takakura, Makiya Nishikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Guanosine- and uridine-rich single-stranded RNA (GU-rich RNA) is an agonist of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 and TLR8 and induces strong immune responses. A nanostructured GU-rich RNA/DNA assembly prepared using DNA nanotechnology can be used as an adjuvant capable of improving the biological stability of RNA and promoting efficient RNA delivery to target immune cells. To achieve a sustained supply of GU-rich RNA to immune cells, we developed a GU-rich RNA/DNA hydrogel (RDgel) using nanostructured GU-rich RNA/DNA assembly, from which GU-rich RNA can be released in a sustained manner. A hexapod-like GU-rich RNA/DNA nanostructure, or hexapodRD6, was designed using a 20-mer phosphorothioate-stabilized GU-rich RNA and six phosphodiester DNAs. Two sets of hexapodRD6 were mixed to obtain RDgel. Under serum-containing conditions, GU-rich RNA was gradually released from the RDgel. Fluorescently labeled GU-rich RNA was efficiently taken up by DC2.4 murine dendritic cells and induced a high level of tumor necrosis factor-α release from these cells when it was incorporated into RDgel. These results indicate that the RDgel constructed using DNA nanotechnology can be a useful adjuvant in cancer therapy with sustained RNA release and high immunostimulatory activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number728
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2020



  • Adjuvant
  • DNA nanotechnology
  • Hydrogel
  • RNA
  • Toll-like receptor 7/8

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