Nucleic acids have emerged as powerful biological and nanotechnological tools. In biological and nanotechnological experiments, methods of extracting and purifying nucleic acids from various types of cells and their storage are critical for obtaining reproducible experimental results. In nanotechnological experiments, methods for regulating the conformational polymorphism of nucleic acids and increasing sequence selectivity for base pairing of nucleic acids are important for developing nucleic acid-based nanomaterials. However, dearth of media that foster favourable behaviour of nucleic acids has been a bottleneck for promoting the biology and nanotechnology using the nucleic acids. Ionic liquids (ILs) are solvents that may be potentially used for controlling the properties of the nucleic acids. Here, we review researches regarding the behaviour of nucleic acids in ILs. The efficiency of extraction and purification of nucleic acids from biological samples is increased by IL addition. Moreover, nucleic acids in ILs show long-term stability, which maintains their structures and enhances nuclease resistance. Nucleic acids in ILs can be used directly in polymerase chain reaction and gene expression analysis with high efficiency. Moreover, the stabilities of the nucleic acids for duplex, triplex, and quadruplex (G-quadruplex and i-motif) structures change drastically with IL cation-nucleic acid interactions. Highly sensitive DNA sensors have been developed based on the unique changes in the stability of nucleic acids in ILs. The behaviours of nucleic acids in ILs detailed here should be useful in the design of nucleic acids to use as biological and nanotechnological tools.
Biophysical Reviews – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 23, 2018
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