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Monday, 01 April, 2013

Sequence-specific inhibition of Dicer measured with a force-based microarray for RNA ligands

K. Limmer, D. Aschenbrenner, and H. Gaub -
Nucl. Acids Res., Vol. 41 (6), e69 (2013)

Malfunction of protein translation causes many severe diseases, and suitable correction strategies may become the basis of effective therapies. One major regulatory element of protein translation is the nuclease Dicer that cuts double-stranded RNA independently of the sequence into pieces of 1922 base pairs starting the RNA interference pathway and activating miRNAs. Inhibiting Dicer is not desirable owing to its multifunctional influence on the cells gene regulation. Blocking specific RNA sequences by small-molecule binding, however, is a promising approach to affect the cells condition in a controlled manner. A label-free assay for the screening of site-specific interference of small molecules with Dicer activity is thus needed. We used the Molecular Force Assay (MFA), recently developed in our lab, to measure the activity of Dicer. As a model system, we used an RNA sequence that forms an aptamer-binding site for paromomycin, a 615-dalton aminoglycoside. We show that Dicer activity is modulated as a function of concentration and incubation time: the addition of paromomycin leads to a decrease of Dicer activity according to the amount of ligand. The measured dissociation constant of paromomycin to its aptamer was found to agree well with literature values. The parallel format of the MFA allows a large-scale search and analysis for ligands for any RNA sequence.


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