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Nucleic Acids Res. 2008 Dec;36(22):7124-35. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkn891. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Novel bimodular DNA aptamers with guanosine quadruplexes inhibit phylogenetically diverse HIV-1 reverse transcriptases.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


DNA aptamers RT5, RT6 and RT47 form a group of related sequences that inhibit HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT). The essential inhibitory structure is identified here as bimodular, with a 5' stem-loop module physically connected to a 3'-guanosine quadruplex module. The stem-loop tolerates considerable sequence plasticity. Connections between the guanosine triplets in the quadruplex could be simplified to a single nucleotide or a nonnucleic acid linker, such as hexaethylene glycol. All 12 quadruplex guanosines are required in an aptamer retaining most of the original loop sequence from RT6; only 11 are required for aptamer R1T (single T residue in intra-quadruplex loops). Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy gave ellipticity minima and maxima at 240 nm and 264 nm, indicating a parallel arrangement of the quadruplex strands. The simplified aptamers displayed increased overall stability. An aptamer carrying the original intra-quadruplex loops from RT6 inhibited RT in K(+) buffers but not in Na(+) buffers and displayed significant CD spectral broadening in Na(+) buffers, while R1T inhibited RT in both buffers and displayed less broadening in Na(+) buffers. The bimodular ssDNA aptamers inhibited RT from diverse primate lentiviruses with low nM IC(50) values. These data provide insight into the requirements for broad-spectrum RT inhibition by nucleic acid aptamers.

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