A phosphorothioate RNA aptamer (thioaptamer) targeting the capsid protein of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) was isolated by in vitro combinatorial selection. The selected thioaptamer had a strong binding affinity (∼7 nM) and high specificity for the target protein. For the binding to the protein, the overall tertiary structure of the thioaptamer is required. We introduce two theoretical methods to examine the effect of phosphorothioate modification on the enhancement of binding affinity and one experimental method to examine the nature of the multiple bands of thioaptamer in a native gel. © 2007.
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