Tracing Sequence Diversity Change of RNA-Cleaving Deoxyribozymes under Increasing Selection Pressure during in Vitro Selection†
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In vitro selection has been used extensively over the past 10 years to create functionally diverse DNA enzymes. The majority of in vitro selection experiments to date have focused on the outcome rather than the process itself, a process that remains to be fully elucidated. In vitro selection techniques rely on the probability that some DNA molecules in a random-sequence library will fold into an appropriate tertiary structure and catalyze a desired reaction. Thus, sufficient sequence diversity in the DNA pool (and hence more catalytic DNA sequences) is a prerequisite for the successful isolation of efficient deoxyribozymes. The catalytic sequence diversity established by in vitro selection is governed largely by the choice of selection pressures, one of which is the length of the reaction time. The objective of this study was to evaluate the sequence diversity change of a pool of RNA-cleaving deoxyribozymes as a function of the reaction time. Seventeen rounds of in vitro selection were performed, and the reaction time was progressively decreased from 5 h to 5 s. A representative population from each time class was subsequently cloned and sequenced. A decline in sequence diversity was observed with decreasing reaction time, and the relationship appears to be logarithmic. In contrast, a control selection performed with a constant reaction time during each round led to a linear and comparatively very slow decrease in sequence diversity. This study provides the first methodical examination of the change in catalytic sequence diversity that occurs through the course of a deoxyribozyme selection experiment. Moreover, it represents a first step toward fully understanding the intricate pathway that lies between the beginning and end of an in vitro selection experiment.
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