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Hammerhead ribozyme-mediated cleavage of the long terminal repeat RNA of human immunodeficiency virus type 1

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Olaf Heidenreich


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Three ribozymes targeted against different sites of the long terminal repeat RNA (LTR RNA) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 cleaved a LTR RNA transcript 1,000 x less efficiently than corresponding short synthetic oligoribonucleotide substrates. Varying the stem lengths of the ribozyme resulted in changes of the catalytic efficiency. Almost no cleavage was observed for a ribozyme forming only 10 base pairs instead of 14 with the LTR RNA. Increasing the base pairs to 16 or elongation of the stem formed within the ribozyme revealed only small changes in kcat/Km. The influence of chemical modifications within the ribozyme on the cleavage of the LTR RNA was also examined. 2'-Fluorocytidine substitutions as well as four terminal phosphorothioate internucleotidic linkages influenced the catalytic efficiency of ribozymes only negligibly. However, substitution of uridine by 2'-fluorouridine resulted in a 5-fold decrease of kcat/Km. A ribozyme containing all these modifications revealed only a 7-fold lower catalytic efficiency but a markedly increased stability in cell culture supernatant. These results demonstrate that it is possible to increase the stability of ribozymes toward nucleases without a serious loss in catalytic efficiency.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heidenreich O, Eckstein F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Biological Chemistry

Year: 1992

Volume: 267

Issue: 3

Pages: 1904-1909

ISSN (print): 0021-9258

ISSN (electronic): 1083-351X