Frameworks for targeting RNA with small molecules.

Conference Paper

Since the characterization of mRNA in 1961, our understanding of the roles of RNA molecules has significantly grown. Beyond serving as a link between DNA and proteins, RNA molecules play direct effector roles by binding to various ligands, including proteins, DNA, other RNAs, and metabolites. Through these interactions, RNAs mediate cellular processes such as the regulation of gene transcription and the enhancement or inhibition of protein activity. As a result, the misregulation of RNA molecules is often associated with disease phenotypes, and RNA molecules have been increasingly recognized as potential targets for drug development efforts, which in the past had focused primarily on proteins. Although both small molecule-based and oligonucleotide-based therapies have been pursued in efforts to target RNA, small-molecule modalities are often favored owing to several advantages including greater oral bioavailability. In this review, we discuss three general frameworks (sets of premises and hypotheses) that, in our view, have so far dominated the discovery of small-molecule ligands for RNA. We highlight the unique merits of each framework as well as the pitfalls associated with exclusive focus of ligand discovery efforts within only one framework. Finally, we propose that RNA ligand discovery can benefit from using progress made within these three frameworks to move toward a paradigm that formulates RNA-targeting questions at the level of RNA structural subclasses.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Umuhire Juru, A; Hargrove, AE

Published Date

  • January 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 296 /

Start / End Page

  • 100191 -

PubMed ID

  • 33334887

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7948454

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1083-351X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-9258

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1074/jbc.rev120.015203