Controlling gene expression in living cells through small molecule-RNA interactions

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Anti-Bacterial Agents; Base Sequence; Benzimidazoles; Bisbenzimide; CHO Cells; Cricetinae; Drug Resistance, Microbial; Escherichia coli; *Gene Expression Regulation; Kanamycin; Ligands; Molecular Sequence Data; Protein Biosynthesis; RNA; RNA, Messenger; Tobramycin; Transfection


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Short RNA aptamers that specifically bind to a wide variety of ligands in vitro can be isolated from randomized pools of RNA. Here it is shown that small molecule aptamers also bound their ligand in vivo, enabling development of a method for controlling gene expression in living cells. Insertion of a small molecule aptamer into the 5' untranslated region of a messenger RNA allowed its translation to be repressible by ligand addition in vitro as well as in mammalian cells. The ability of small molecules to control expression of specific genes could facilitate studies in many areas of biology and medicine.


Science. 1998 Oct 9;282(5387):296-8.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Science (New York, N.Y.)

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID