Regulating Transition Metal Catalysis Through Interference by Short RNAs
Herein we report the discovery of a AuI–DNA hybrid catalyst that is compatible with biological media and whose reactivity can be regulated by small complementary nucleic acid sequences. The development of this catalytic system was enabled by the discovery of a novel AuI‐mediated base pair. We found that AuI binds DNA containing C‐T mismatches. In the AuI–DNA catalyst's latent state, the AuI ion is sequestered by the mismatch such that it is coordinatively saturated, rendering it catalytically inactive. Upon addition of an RNA or DNA strand that is complementary to the latent catalyst's oligonucleotide backbone, catalytic activity is induced, leading to a sevenfold increase in the formation of a fluorescent product, forged through a AuI‐catalyzed hydroamination reaction. Further development of this catalytic system will expand not only the chemical space available to synthetic biological systems but also allow for temporal and spatial control of transition‐metal catalysis through gene transcription.