Functional DNA in Ionic Liquids
The use of functional nucleic acids started two decades ago and nowadays their application in nanotechnology as smart building blocks is of great interest. The structure and function of nucleic acids are determined by the interactions with their liquid environment, which conventionally resembles physiological conditions. Conceiving DNA-based nanomachines that function in non-conventional liquid environments, however, bears a great degree of freedom for designing functional molecular devices. Ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents have emerged as alternative solvents due to their unique capacity in acting as electrolytes and solvents, as well as the possibility of fine-tuning their physico-chemical properties such as to maintain the stability and function of nucleic acids. While the long-term stability of the structure of nucleic acids has already been studied in the presence of ionic liquids, the stability of their function has so far been given little attention. It is, however, the latter that would offer a plethora of new applications exploring the molecular recognition capacity of DNA. This chapter will present deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as a smart, functional molecule and discuss its applications, particularly in the presence of ionic liquids.