Targeting RNA with Small Molecules

Author(s): W. David Wilson, Ke Li

Journal Name: Current Medicinal Chemistry

Volume 7 , Issue 1 , 2000

Become EABM
Become Reviewer


Therapeutic targeting of RNA is not as well-developed as with DNA and proteins, and the many structures and functions of RNA suggest that it is an underutilized target. As with DNA, RNA has heterocyclic bases and base pairs with a highly anionic backbone, but as with proteins, RNA can fold into complex tertiary structures that create unique binding pockets for small molecules. Aminoglycoside targeting of ribosomal RNA is a well-known success story, and mRNAs and tRNAs have also served as therapeutic targets as well as model systems for understanding RNA-ligand interactions. The unique, species-specific structures and chemistry involved in splicing and ribozyme activity makes this RNA function an attractive target, and inhibitors of ribozyme activity have been discovered. The numerous serious human diseases caused by RNA viruses highlight the importance of developing new compounds that can target RNA structures in viral genomes. Considerable effort has been directed at finding compounds that target HIV-1 RNAs that control viral replication and frameshifting. As part of these efforts very useful new assays have been developed for small molecule-RNA interactions. The assays have led to the discovery of new inhibitors for different steps in viral replication. The next phase of research in RNA targeting will not only focus on the discovery of new compounds, but also on how to develop small molecules with high affinity and selectively for RNA that can penetrate effectively into a wide array of cell types.

Keywords: targeting RNA, mRNA, therapeutic targets, tRNAs, RNA lignad interactions, HIV1 RNAs, inhibitors, viral replication, small molecules, ribose sugars, duplex RNA, base stacking, grooves, DNA, RNA recognition, cellular RNA, aminoglycosides, paromomycin, streptomycin, thiostrepton, plasmodium falciparum, viral RNA Genomes, HIV TAR, HIV1 RRE, resonance SPR assay, paromoycin, surface plasma, Ribosomal frameshifting, Ribozymes, introns, hammerhhead ribozymes, human hepatitis D Virus HDV Ribozyme, pneumocystis carinii, blemycin

Rights & PermissionsPrintExport Cite as

Article Details

Year: 2000
Page: [73 - 98]
Pages: 26
DOI: 10.2174/0929867003375434

Article Metrics

PDF: 59