Serum-stable RNA aptamers to an invariant surface domain of live African trypanosomes

Matthias Homann, Mihaela Lorger, Markus Engstler, Martin Zacharias, H. Ulrich Göringer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


African trypanosomes are extracellular blood parasites that cause sleeping sickness in humans and Nagana in cattle. The therapeutics used to control and treat these diseases are very ineffective and thus, the development of new drugs is urgently needed. We have previously suggested to use trypanosome-specific RNA aptamers as tools for the development of novel trypanocidal compounds. Here, we report the selection of a 2′-NH2-modified RNA aptamer that binds to live trypanosomes with an affinity of 70 ± 15 nM. The aptamer adopts a stable G-quartet structure and has a half-life in human serum of ≥ 30 h. RNA binding is restricted to the flagellar attachment zone, located between the cell body and the flagellum of the parasite. We demonstrate that antigen-tagged preparations of the aptamer can bind to live trypanosomes and that they can be used to re-direct immunoglobulins to the parasite surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-499
Number of pages9
JournalCombinatorial Chemistry and High Throughput Screening
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • African sleeping sickness
  • African trypanosomes
  • G-quartet
  • RNA aptamer
  • Trypanosoma brucei


Dive into the research topics of 'Serum-stable RNA aptamers to an invariant surface domain of live African trypanosomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this