DNA aptamer-mediated regulation of the hairpin ribozyme by human α-thrombin

Hani Najafi, Michael Famulok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


The combination of specific ligand-binding aptamers with hairpin ribozyme catalysis generates molecules that can be controlled by external factors. Here we have generated hairpin ribozymes that can be regulated by a short DNA aptamer specific for human α-thrombin. This was achieved by constructing a ribozyme variant harboring an RNA sequence complementary to the aptamer, to which the aptamer can hybridize forming a heteroduplex. In this way, the DNA aptamer completely abolishes the catalytic activity of the ribozyme, due to the formation of an inactive ribozyme conformation. However, in the presence of the aptamer's target protein human α-thrombin, the inhibitory effect of the DNA aptamer is competitively neutralized and the ribozyme is activated in a highly specific fashion. Protein-responsive allosteric ribozymes are proposed to act as tools with potential applications in medicine where fast detection of clinically relevant targets is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalBlood Cells, Molecules, and Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes



  • Allosteric ribozyme
  • Aptazyme
  • Competitive regulation
  • Hairpin ribozyme
  • Ribozyme engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Hematology

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