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Genet Vaccines Ther. 2006 May 29;4:4.

Characterization of the ribonuclease activity on the skin surface.

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Department of Immunology, Institute for Cell Biology, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 15, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


The rapid degradation of ribonucleic acids (RNA) by ubiquitous ribonucleases limits the efficacy of new therapies based on RNA molecules. Therefore, our aim was to characterize the natural ribonuclease activities on the skin and in blood plasma i.e. at sites where many drugs in development are applied. On the skin surfaces of Homo sapiens and Mus musculus we observed dominant pyrimidine-specific ribonuclease activity. This activity is not prevented by a cap structure at the 5'-end of messenger RNA (mRNA) and is not primarily of a 5'- or 3'-exonuclease type. Moreover, the ribonuclease activity on the skin or in blood plasma is not inhibited by chemical modifications introduced at the 2'OH group of cytidine or uridine residues. It is, however, inhibited by the ribonuclease inhibitor RNasin although not by the ribonuclease inhibitor SUPERase* In. The application of our findings in the field of medical science may result in an improved efficiency of RNA-based therapies that are currently in development.

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