Aptamers are oligonucleotides that can bind to various nonnucleic acid molecular targets in a high affinity and specificity. As an emerging class of therapeutic agents, aptamers offer an unparalleled advantage over other classes of therapeutic agents: the possibility to rationally regulate the therapeutic activity of aptamers. Most existing strategies for regulating the aptamer activity have a limited specificity and/or reversibility. Herein we report a simple, generic strategy to simultaneously achieve specificity and reversibility by exploiting the spontaneous conformational change of hairpin oligonucleotides upon the specific recognition of nucleic acid effectors. The effector-responsive hairpin oligonucleotide consists of a sensing loop that recognizes a particular nucleic acid effector, an aptamer stem that inhibits a certain therapeutic target, and an antidote stem that is complementary to the aptamer. Upon the introduction/removal of the effector, the hairpin oligonucleotide undergoes a conformational change that activates/deactivates the aptamer's inhibiting activity on the therapeutic target. This new strategy has been demonstrated with an anticoagulant aptamer that binds and inhibits human α-thrombin.
- Hairpin oligonucleotides
- Nucleic acid effectors
- Reversible anticoagulant
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Medical Laboratory Technology