Four Steps For Revealing And Adjusting The 3D Structure Of Aptamers In Solution By Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering And Computer Simulation


Nucleic acid (NA) aptamers bind to their targets with high affinity and selectivity. The three-dimensional (3D) structures of aptamers play a major role in these non-covalent interactions. Here, we use a four-step approach to determine a true 3D structure of aptamers in solution using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and molecular structure restoration (MSR). The approach consists of (i) acquiring SAXS experimental data of an aptamer in solution, (ii) building a spatial distribution of the molecule’s electron density using SAXS results, (iii) constructing a 3D model of the aptamer from its nucleotide primary sequence and secondary structure, and (iv) comparing and refining the modeled 3D structures with the experimental SAXS model. In the proof-of-principle we analyzed the 3D structure of RE31 aptamer to thrombin in a native free state at different temperatures and validated it by circular dichroism (CD).

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