Volume 95 Issue 4 | p. 5 | News of The Week
Issue Date: January 23, 2017 | Web Date: January 19, 2017

Making aptamers with biology’s help

RNA sequences from riboswitches and ribozymes provide scaffolds that help aptamers work better in cells
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE
Keywords: nucleic acids, aptamers, sensors

Scientists simulate evolution in the lab by introducing mutations iteratively into biomolecules such as nucleic acids and selecting for desired properties. When carrying this process out specifically on RNA molecules, they can evolve the RNAs to bind specific small molecules. But many of these so-called aptamers don’t bind well to their targets when put inside cells because they don’t fold into stable structures.

“As we solved the structures of naturally occurring aptamers, we noticed they . . .

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