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Engineering Light-Up Aptamers for the Detection of RNA Hairpins through Kissing Interaction

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journal contribution
posted on 22.06.2020, 21:29 by Arghya Sett, Lorena Zara, Eric Dausse, Jean-Jacques Toulmé
Aptasensors are biosensors that include aptamers for detecting a target of interest. We engineered signaling aptasensors for the detection of RNA hairpins from the previously described malachite green (MG) RNA aptamer. The top part of this imperfect hairpin aptamer was modified in such a way that it can engage loop–loop (so-called kissing) interactions with RNA hairpins displaying partly complementary apical loops. These newly derived oligonucleotides named malaswitches bind their cognate fluorogenic ligand (MG) exclusively when RNA–RNA kissing complexes are formed, whereas MG does not bind to malaswitches alone. Consequently, the formation of the ternary target RNA–malaswitch RNA–MG complex results in fluorescence emission, and malaswitches constitute sensors for detecting RNA hairpins. Malaswitches were designed that specifically detect precursors of microRNAs let7b and miR-206.