- 담당교수Sung Ho Ryu
Aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides that bind to a specific target with high affinity, and are widely applied in biomedical diagnostics and drug development. However, the use of aptamers has largely been limited to simple binders or inhibitors that interfere with the function of a target protein.
Here, we show that an aptamer can also act as a positive allosteric modulator that enhances the activation of a receptor by stabilizing the binding of a ligand to that receptor. We developed an aptamer, named IR-A43, which binds to the insulin receptor, and confirmed that IR-A43 and insulin bind to the insulin receptor with mutual positive cooperativity.
IR-A43 alone is inactive, but, in the presence of insulin, it potentiates autophosphorylation and downstream signaling of the insulin receptor. By using the species-specific activity of IR-A43 at the human insulin receptor, we demonstrate that residue Q272 in the cysteine-rich domain is directly involved in the insulin-enhancing activity of IR-A43. Therefore, we propose that the region containing residue Q272 is a hotspot that can be used to enhance insulin receptor activation. Moreover, our study implies that aptamers are promising reagents for the development of allosteric modulators that discriminate a specific conformation of a target receptor.