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RNA. 2004 Aug;10(8):1277-90. Epub 2004 Jul 9.

Isolation of specific and high-affinity RNA aptamers against NS3 helicase domain of hepatitis C virus.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Institute of Nanosensor and Biotechnology, Dankook University, San8 Hannam-Dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 140-714, Korea.

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-encoded nonstructural protein 3 (NS3) possesses protease, NTPase, and helicase activities, which are considered essential for viral proliferation. Thus, HCV NS3 is a good putative therapeutic target protein for the development of anti-HCV agents. In this study, we isolated specific RNA aptamers to the helicase domain of HCV NS3 from a combinatorial RNA library with 40-nucleotide random sequences using in vitro selection techniques. The isolated RNAs were observed to very avidly bind the HCV helicase with an apparent Kd of 990 pM in contrast to original pool RNAs with a Kd of >1 microM. These RNA ligands appear to impede binding of substrate RNA to the HCV helicase and can act as potent decoys to competitively inhibit helicase activity with high efficiency compared with poly(U) or tRNA. The minimal binding domain of the ligands was determined to evaluate the structural features of the isolated RNA molecules. Interestingly, part of binding motif of the RNA aptamers consists of similar secondary structure to the 3'-end of HCV negative-strand RNA. Moreover, intracellular NS3 protein can be specifically detected in situ with the RNA aptamers, indicating that the selected RNAs are very specific to the HCV NS3 helicase. Furthermore, the RNA aptamers partially inhibited RNA synthesis of HCV subgenomic replicon in Huh-7 hepatoma cell lines. These results suggest that the RNA aptamers selected in vitro could be useful not only as therapeutic and diagnostic agents of HCV infection but also as a powerful tool for the study of HCV helicase mechanism.

PMID:
15247433
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1370617
Free PMC Article

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