Controlling Gene Expression in Living Cells Through Small Molecule-RNA Interactions

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Short RNA aptamers that specifically bind to a wide variety of ligands in vitro can be isolated from randomized pools of RNA.Here it is shown that small molecule aptamers also bound their ligand in vivo, enabling development of a method for controlling gene expression in living cells. Insertion of a small molecule aptamer into the 5[prime] untranslated region of a messenger RNA allowed its translation to be repressible by ligand addition in vitro as well as in mammalian cells. The ability of small molecules to control expression of specific genes could facilitate studies in many areas of biology and medicine.

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