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Oligonucleotides. 2004;14(2):114-29.

In vitro selection of RNA aptamers against the HCV NS3 helicase domain.

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Institute for Biological Resources and Functions, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), 1-1-1 Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8566, Japan.


Nonstructural protein 3 (NS3) of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has two distinct domains, protease and helicase, that are essential for HCV proliferation. Therefore, NS3 is considered a target for anti-HCV treatment. To study RNA aptamers of the NS3 helicase domain, we carried out in vitro selection against the HCV NS3 helicase domain. RNA aptamers obtained after eight generations possessed 5' extended single-stranded regions and the conserved sequence (5'-GGA(U/C)GGAGCC-3') at stem-loop regions. Aptamer 5 showed strong inhibition of helicase activity in vitro. Deletion and mutagenesis analysis clarified that the conserved stem-loop is important and that the whole structure is needed for helicase inhibition. We compared the inhibition of helicase activity between aptamer 5 and 3'+-UTR of HCV.

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