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Xu D.,Albany State University | Xu D.,RNA Institute | Chatakonda V.-K.,Albany State University | Chatakonda V.-K.,RNA Institute | And 6 more authors.
Nucleic Acid Therapeutics

Estrogen receptor α (ERα) is a well-validated drug target for a majority of breast cancers. But the target sites on this receptor are far from exhaustively defined. Almost all ER antagonists in clinical use function by binding to the ligand-binding pocket to occlude agonist access. Resistance to this type of drugs may develop over time, not caused by the change of ERα itself, but by changes in ER associated proteins. This observation is fueling the development of reagents that downregulate ER activity through novel binding sites. However, it is challenging to find general ER antagonists that act independently from other known ER ligands. In this report, we describe the utility of RNA aptamers in the search for new drug target sites on ERα. We have identified three high affinity aptamers and characterized one of them in detail. This aptamer interacted with ERα in a way not affected by the presence or absence of either the steroidal ligands or the estrogen response DNA elements, and effectively inhibited ER-mediated transcriptional activation in a breast cancer cell line. Serving as a novel drug lead, it may also be used to guide the rational chemical synthesis of small molecule drugs or to perform screens of small molecule libraries for those that are able to displace the aptamer from its binding site. © 2014 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Source

Patil A.,University at Albany | Patil A.,RNA Institute | Towns W.,University at Albany | Towns W.,RNA Institute | And 4 more authors.

A codon consists of three nucleotides and functions during translation to dictate the insertion of a specific amino acid in a growing peptide or, in the case of stop codons, to specify the completion of protein synthesis. There are 64 possible single codons and there are 4096 double, 262 144 triple, 16 777 216 quadruple and 1 073 741 824 quintuple codon combinations available for use by specific genes and genomes. In order to evaluate the use of specific single, double, triple, quadruple and quintuple codon combinations in genes and gene networks, we have developed a codon counting tool and employed it to analyze 5780 Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes. We have also developed visualization approaches, including codon painting, combination and bar graphs, and have used them to identify distinct codon usage patterns in specific genes and groups of genes. Using our developed Gene-Specific Codon Counting Database, we have identified extreme codon runs in specific genes. We have also demonstrated that specific codon combinations or usage patterns are over-represented in genes whose corresponding proteins belong to ribosome or translation-associated biological processes. Our resulting database provides a mineable list of multi-codon data and can be used to identify unique sequence runs and codon usage patterns in individual and functionally linked groups of genes. © The Author(s) 2012. Source

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