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Title: A novel high-throughput activity assay for the Trypanosoma brucei editosome enzyme REL1 and other RNA ligases
Authors: Zimmermann, S.
Hall, Laurence
Riley, S.
Sørensen, J.
Amaro, R. E.
Schnaufer, A.
First Published: 22-Sep-2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Citation: Nucleic Acids Research (18 February 2016) 44 (3): e24.
Abstract: The protist parasite Trypanosoma brucei causes Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), which threatens millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. Without treatment the infection is almost always lethal. Current drugs for HAT are difficult to administer and have severe side effects. Together with increasing drug resistance this results in urgent need for new treatments. T. brucei and other trypanosomatid pathogens require a distinct form of post-transcriptional mRNA modification for mitochondrial gene expression. A multi-protein complex called the editosome cleaves mitochondrial mRNA, inserts or deletes uridine nucleotides at specific positions and re-ligates the mRNA. RNA editing ligase 1 (REL1) is essential for the re-ligation step and has no close homolog in the mammalian host, making it a promising target for drug discovery. However, traditional assays for RELs use radioactive substrates coupled with gel analysis and are not suitable for high-throughput screening of compound libraries. Here we describe a fluorescence-based REL activity assay. This assay is compatible with a 384-well microplate format and sensitive, satisfies statistical criteria for high-throughput methods and is readily adaptable for other polynucleotide ligases. We validated the assay by determining kinetic properties of REL1 and by identifying REL1 inhibitors in a library of small, pharmacologically active compounds.
DOI Link: 10.1093/nar/gkv938
ISSN: 0305-1048
eISSN: 1362-4962
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Cardiovascular Sciences

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