International journal of biological macromolecules

Development of receptor-based inhibitory RNA aptamers for anthrax toxin neutralization.

PMID 25841381


Anthrax toxin excreted by Bacillus anthracis is the key causative agent of infectious anthrax disease. In the present study, we targeted the binding of PA to the ATR/TEM8 Von Willebrand factor type A (VWA) domain, which we cloned into Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity under denaturing conditions. To develop an anthrax toxin inhibitor, we selected and identified short single strand RNA aptamers (approximately 30mer) consisting of different sequences of nucleic acids with a high binding affinity in the 100 nanomolar range against the recombinant ATR/TEM8 VWA domain using systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX). Five candidate aptamers were further characterized by several techniques including secondary structural analysis. The inhibitor efficiency (IC50) of one of the aptamers toward anthrax toxin was approximately 5μM in macrophage RAW 264.7 cells, as determined from cytotoxicity analysis by MTT assay. We believe that the candidate aptamers should be useful for blocking the binding of PA to its receptor in order to neutralize anthrax toxin.