New strategy for the synthesis of chemically modified RNA constructs exemplified by hairpin and hammerhead ribozymes

A. H. El-Sagheer and T. Brown. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 107 (35), 15329-15334, 2010.


The CuAAC reaction (click chemistry) has been used in conjunction with solid-phase synthesis to produce catalytically active hairpin ribozymes around 100 nucleotides in length. Cross-strand ligation through neighboring nucleobases was successful in covalently linking presynthesized RNA strands with high efficiency (trans-ligation). In an alternative strategy, intrastrand click ligation was employed to produce a functional hammerhead ribozyme containing a novel nucleic acid backbone mimic at the catalytic site (cis-ligation). The ability to synthesize long RNA strands by a combination of solid-phase synthesis and click ligation is an important addition to RNA chemistry. It is compatible with a plethora of site-specific modifications and is applicable to the synthesis of many biologically important RNA molecules.