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Methods. 2004 Apr;32(4):428-36.

Monitoring protein modification with allosteric ribozymes.

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Sirna Therapeutics, Inc, 2950 Wilderness Place, Boulder, CO 80301, USA.


An allosteric ribozyme is an RNA-based enzyme (ribozyme) whose catalytic activity is modulated by molecular recognition of a protein. The direct coupling of a detectable catalytic event to molecular recognition by an allosteric ribozyme enables simple assays for quantitative protein detection. Most significantly, the mode of development and molecular recognition characteristics of allosteric ribozymes are fundamentally different from antibodies, providing them with functional characteristics that complement those of antibodies. Allosteric ribozymes can be developed using native proteins and, therefore, are often sensitive to protein conformation. In contrast, antibodies tend to recognize a series of adjacent amino acids as a consequence of antigen presentation and typically are not sensitive to protein conformation. Unlike antibody development, the development of allosteric ribozymes is a completely in vitro process that allows the specificity of an allosteric ribozyme to be tightly controlled. These significant differences from antibodies allow the pre-programmed development of conformation-state-specific protein detection reagents that can be used to investigate the activation-state of signal transduction components.

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