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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A ribozyme which discriminates in vitro between PML/RAR alpha, the t(15;17)-associated fusion RNA of acute promyelocytic leukemia, and PML and RAR alpha, the transcripts from the nonrearranged alleles.

Acute promyelocytic leukemia ( FAB M3) is distinguished by the presence of the t(15;17) and clinical response to all-trans retinoic acid (RA) treatment. Acute promyelocytic leukemia is associated with a chromosomal translocation which results in the fusion of genes encoding a putative transcription factor (PML) and the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR alpha). It is suggested that the PML/RAR alpha fusion protein functions as an inhibitor of myeloid differentiation. The potential use of ribozymes as therapeutic agents has been investigated in the present study. Hammerhead ribozymes, which by hybridizing to both PML and RAR alpha sequences discriminate between the fusion transcript and the normal transcripts from the nonrearranged alleles, were designed and synthesized. Two hammerhead cleavage sites were targeted: site 1, an AUU located 4 nucleotides 3' to the fusion junction; and site 2, a UUC located 26 nucleotides 3' to the junction. Both sites are located in the RAR alpha portion of the fusion transcript. Using a full-length PML/RAR alpha RNA or an RNA corresponding to 788 nucleotides of the PML/RAR alpha mRNA and a full-length RAR alpha RNA or an RNA corresponding to 960 nucleotides of the RAR alpha mRNA as model substrates, the catalytic behavior of several ribozymes was studied. A modified hammerhead directed against site 2 displayed the highest degree of selectivity for PML/RAR alpha. It is hypothesized that ribozyme-mediated inactivation of PML/RAR alpha provides a new approach to study the role of PML/RAR alpha in the deregulated growth and RA response of acute promyelocytic leukemia.[1]


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