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Nucleic Acids Symp Ser. 1995;(34):145-6.

In vitro selection of RNA aptamers that can bind specifically to Tat protein of HIV-1.

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Institute of Applied Biochemistry, University of Tsukuba, Japan.


The Tat protein of human immunodeficiency virus interacts specifically with its target RNA sequence, TAR, and activates viral gene expression at the early stage of infection. Here, we have used in vitro genetic selection strategy to determine what sequence or structural motifs might exist between RNA's that interact specifically with the Tat protein. Starting from a RNA pool that has a 120 base random sequence core, aptamers that bind specifically to the Tat protein were selected by repeating 11 rounds of selection and amplification. A comparative analysis of 64 aptamers that were isolated from the 11th generation revealed two main sequence classes. Interestingly, one of these two classes of aptamers had minimum of one U residues in bulge loop and 2 specific adjacent base pairs. This region is very much homologous to the core sequence of TAR RNA that is essential for the specific Tat-TAR interactions. Further analyses of the sequences from the 11th generation should reveal what kind of RNA structures are required in order to show a high affinity for the Tat protein.

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