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Gene. 1993 Dec 27;137(1):25-31.

The discovery and characterization of a novel nucleotide-based thrombin inhibitor.

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Gilead Sciences, Foster City, CA 94404.


Thrombin is a serine protease that plays a pivotal role in thrombosis and hemostasis, and is a major target for anticoagulation and cardiovascular disease therapy. Using a novel in vitro selection/amplification technique, we have identified a new class of thrombin inhibitors based on single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) oligodeoxyribonucleotides (oligos). These thrombin inhibitors are the first example of the use of this technique to obtain ssDNA oligos that bind a target protein that does not interact physiologically with nucleic acid. Here, we review how iterative selection and amplification were used to identify short ssDNA sequences that bind and inhibit thrombin (Bock et al., Nature 355 (1992) 564-566), and the tertiary structure of one aptamer sequence (Wang et al., Biochemistry 32 (1993) 1899-1904). Results from in vitro and in vivo studies are also summarized (Griffin et al., Blood 81 (1993) 3271-3276). The discovery of a new class of thrombin inhibitors using this technology demonstrates the power of this new approach for rapid drug discovery and development.

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