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Journal of Nucleic Acids
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 748632, 17 pages
Research Article

Site-Selective Artificial Ribonucleases: Oligonucleotide Conjugates Containing Multiple Imidazole Residues in the Catalytic Domain

1Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia
2School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
3Fidelity Systems Inc., 7961 Cessna Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD 20879, USA

Received 7 April 2011; Accepted 5 July 2011

Academic Editor: Dmitry A. Stetsenko

Copyright © 2011 Natalia G. Beloglazova et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Design of site-selective artificial ribonucleases (aRNases) is one of the most challenging tasks in RNA targeting. Here, we designed and studied oligonucleotide-based aRNases containing multiple imidazole residues in the catalytic part and systematically varied structure of cleaving constructs. We demonstrated that the ribonuclease activity of the conjugates is strongly affected by the number of imidazole residues in the catalytic part, the length of a linker between the catalytic imidazole groups of the construct and the oligonucleotide, and the type of anchor group, connecting linker structure and the oligonucleotide. Molecular modeling of the most active aRNases showed that preferable orientation(s) of cleaving constructs strongly depend on the structure of the anchor group and length of the linker. The inclusion of deoxyribothymidine anchor group significantly reduced the probability of cleaving groups to locate near the cleavage site, presumably due to a stacking interaction with the neighbouring nucleotide residue. Altogether the obtained results show that dynamics factors play an important role in site-specific RNA cleavage. Remarkably high cleavage activity was displayed by the conjugates with the most flexible and extended cleaving construct, which presumably provides a better opportunity for imidazole residues to be correctly positioned in the vicinity of scissile phosphodiester bond.