Indexed on: 14 Feb '12Published on: 14 Feb '12Published in: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
'Locked nucleic acids' (LNAs) are sugar modified nucleic acids containing the 2'-O-4'C-methylene-β-D-ribofuranoses. The substitution of RNAs with LNAs leads to an enhanced thermostability. Aptamers are nucleic acids, which are selected for specific target binding from a large library pool by the 'SELEX' method. Introduction of modified nucleic acids into aptamers can improve their stability. The stem region of a ricin A chain RNA aptamer was substituted by locked nucleic acids. Different constructs of the LNA-substituted aptamers were examined for their thermostability, binding activity, folding and RNase sensitivity as compared to the natural RNA counterpart. The LNA-modified aptamers were active in target binding, while the loop regions and the adjacent stem nucleotides remained unsubstituted. The thermostability and RNase resistance of LNA substituted aptamers were enhanced as compared to the native RNA aptamer. This study supports the approach to substitute the aptamer stem region by LNAs and to leave the loop region unmodified, which is responsible for ligand binding. Thus, LNAs possess an encouraging potential for the development of new stabilized nucleic acids and will promote future diagnostic and therapeutic applications.