Regulation of photosensitisation processes by an RNA aptamer. Scientific Reports, 7, 43272. (2017). (ISI, IF = 5.228)

Tran Thi Thanh Thoa, Noriko Minagawa, Toshiro Aigaki, Yoshihiro Ito & Takanori Uzawa. 


One of the most powerful attributes of proteins is their ability to bind to and modulate the chemistry of cofactors and prosthetic groups. Here, we demonstrated the ability of an artificial nucleic acid (an aptamer) to similarly control the functionality of a non-biological element. Specifically, we selected an RNA aptamer that binds tris(bipyridine) ruthenium (II), Ru(bpy)32+, an inorganic complex that has attracted intense interest due to its photoredox chemistry, including its ability to split water by visible light. We found that a newly discovered aptamer strongly and enantioselectively binds Λ-Ru(bpy)32+ (Kd = 65 nM) and, in doing so, selectively suppresses deactivation via energy transfer, thereby elongating the lifetime of its photo-excited state by four-fold. The ability of the aptamer to enhance this important aspect of Ru(bpy)32+ chemistry illustrates a broader point concerning the potential power of combining in vitro-created biomolecules with non-biological reactants to perform enhanced chemical reactions.



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