Structural determinants of conformationally selective, prion-binding aptamers.
Sayer NM., Cubin M., Rhie A., Bullock M., Tahiri-Alaoui A., James W.
We have recently described the isolation of 2'-fluoropyrimidine-substituted RNA aptamers that bind selectively to disease-associated beta-sheet-rich forms of the prion protein, PrP, from a number of mammalian species. These aptamers inhibit the accumulation of protease-resistant forms of PrP in a prion-seeded, in vitro conversion assay. Here we identify the minimal portions of two of these aptamers that retain binding specificity. We determine their secondary structures by a combination of modeling and solution probing. Finally, we identify an internal site for biotinylation of a minimized, synthetic aptamer and use the resultant reagent in the detection of abnormal forms of PrP in vitro.