Combinatorially synthesized nucleotide polymers have been used during the last decade to find ligands that bind to specific sites on biological molecules, including membrane-bound proteins such as the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). The neurotransmitter receptors belong to a group of four structurally related proteins that regulate signal transmission between ~1011 neurons of the mammalian nervous system. The nAChRs are inhibited by compounds such as the anticonvulsant MK-801 [(+)-dizocilpine] and abused drugs such as cocaine. Based on predictions arising from the mechanism of receptor inhibition by MK-801 and cocaine, we developed two classes of RNA aptamers: class I members, which inhibit the nAChR, and class II members, which alleviate inhibition of the receptor by MK-801 and cocaine. The systematic evolution of ligands by the exponential enrichment (SELEX) method was used to obtain these compounds. Here, we report that we have truncated RNA aptamers in each class to determine the minimal nucleic acid sequence that retains the characteristic function for which the aptamer was originally selected. We demonstrate that a truncated class I aptamer containing a sequence of seven nucleotides inhibits the nAChR and that a truncated class II aptamer containing a sequence of only four nucleotides can alleviate MK-801 inhibition.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 5, 2010
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