We recognize that there are many possibilities for further studies on this project. Among the things we will investigate in our future work are:
- alternative designs for Dicer substrates. We would like to know how different 3D RNA origami designs differ in their efficiency as Dicer substrates.
- addition of functional and dynamic features to the RNA octahedron similar as was achieved for the RNA/DNA hybrid octahedron. We propose that the RNA octahedron could be activated as a dicer substrate upon a molecular signal, e.g. by recognition of a miRNA. This could be achieved by hiding 3' overhangs in the interior of the octahedron, which would only be exposed upon dynamic changes in the structure by strand displacement as seen in the FRET experiments of the RNA/DNA hybrid octahedron.
- the immunogenicity of 3D origami structures. We know that long double stranded RNA molecules activates an immune response in cells. This can lead to apoptosis. We want to study how RNA origami structures affect cells and their survival.
- the in vivo efficiency of the RNA octahedron as a Dicer substrate. We want to know how the RNA octahedron is degraded in cells and what siRNA molecules are produced. This will tell us more about how Dicer interacts with the RNA octahedron. We could investigate cell lysates on a Northern blot, to identify what siRNA species are present in the cells after exposure to the RNA octahedron.