Light responsive nucleic acid for biomedical application

Light-responsive nucleic acids have attracted much attention in the biomedical field due to their properties of remote control and high spatiotemporal resolution. This review summarizes recent research progress in light-responsive nucleic acid systems. The challenges in this field are discussed and future prospects are prospected. This review will provide inspiration for the rational design of light-responsive nucleic acid systems.


Nucleic acids are widely used in biomedical applications because of their programmability and biocompatibility. The light responsive nucleic acids have attracted wide attention due to their remote control and high spatiotemporal resolution. In this review, we summarized the latest developments in biomedicine of light responsive molecules. The molecules which confer light responsive properties to nucleic acids were summarized. The binding sites of molecules to nucleic acids, the induced structural changes, and functional regulation of nucleic acids were reviewed. Then, the biomedical applications of light responsive nucleic acids were listed, such as drug delivery, biosensing, optogenetics, gene editing, etc. Finally, the challenges were discussed and possible future directions of light-responsive nucleic acids were proposed.

Author list:

Liwei Chen, Yanfei Liu, Weisheng Guo*, Zhenbao Liu*

How to cite:

L. Chen, Y. Liu, W. Guo, Z. Liu, Exploration 2022, 2, 20210099.