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DNAzymes: From Creation In Vitro to Application In Vivo

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DNAzymes, also known as deoxyribozymes or DNA enzymes, refer to single-stranded DNA molecules with catalytic capabilities. DNAzymes are generated de novo by in vitro selection - a powerful and yet simple technique that has been routinely used to isolate extremely rare DNA or RNA sequences with a function of interest (e.g. ligand-binding or catalysis) from an extraordinarily large population of single-stranded DNA or RNA molecules. Since the report of the first DNAzyme nearly ten years ago, hundreds of DNA sequences have been isolated in many research laboratories around the world to facilitate many chemical transformations of biological importance. In recent years, considerable efforts have been undertaken to assess a variety of DNAzymes for innovation-driven applications ranging from biosensing to gene regulation. This article provides a review on several key aspects of DNAzyme-related research. We will first review in vitro selection techniques used for DNAzyme creation as well as some DNAzymes created for a few representative chemical transformations. We will then discuss recent progresses in studying and developing DNAzymes as reporter molecules for detection-oriented applications, and as therapeutic agents to regulate gene expression at the RNA level. Future outlook on efforts aimed to bring the wonder of catalytic DNA from laboratory curiosity to real world application are also discussed.
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Keywords: allosteric deoxyribozyme; biosensing; dnazymes; fluorescence; gene therapeutics; in vitro selection; nucleic acids

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry, McMaster University, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Canada L8N 3Z5

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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  • Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Each issue of the journal contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics in both pre-clinical and clinical areas of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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