Next Article in Journal
Unravelling the Effects of the Mutation m.3571insC/MT-ND1 on Respiratory Complexes Structural Organization
Previous Article in Journal
RNA Trans-Splicing Modulation via Antisense Molecule Interference
Previous Article in Special Issue
Aptamers Selected for Recognizing Amyloid β-Protein—A Case for Cautious Optimism
Article Menu
Issue 3 (March) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(3), 763;

Selection and Characterization of a DNA Aptamer Specifically Targeting Human HECT Ubiquitin Ligase WWP1

School of Biomedical Sciences, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, 21 Sassoon Road, Hong Kong, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamers)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2421 KB, uploaded 7 March 2018]   |  


Nucleic acid aptamers hold promise as therapeutic tools for specific, tailored inhibition of protein targets with several advantages when compared to small molecules or antibodies. Nuclear WW domain containing E3 ubiquitin ligase 1 (WWP1) ubiquitin ligase poly-ubiquitinates Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), a key transcription factor associated with osteoblast differentiation. Since WWP1 and an adapter known as Schnurri-3 are negative regulators of osteoblast function, the disruption of this complex has the potential to increase bone deposition for osteoporosis therapy. Here, we develop new DNA aptamers that bind and inhibit WWP1 then investigate efficacy in an osteoblastic cell culture. DNA aptamers were selected against three different truncations of the HECT domain of WWP1. Aptamers which bind specifically to a C-lobe HECT domain truncation were observed to enrich during the selection procedure. One particular DNA aptamer termed C3A was further evaluated for its ability to bind WWP1 and inhibit its ubiquitination activity. C3A showed a low µM binding affinity to WWP1 and was observed to be a non-competitive inhibitor of WWP1 HECT ubiquitin ligase activity. When SaOS-2 osteoblastic cells were treated with C3A, partial localization to the nucleus was observed. The C3A aptamer was also demonstrated to specifically promote extracellular mineralization in cell culture experiments. The C3A aptamer has potential for further development as a novel osteoporosis therapeutic strategy. Our results demonstrate that aptamer-mediated inhibition of protein ubiquitination can be a novel therapeutic strategy. View Full-Text
Keywords: aptamer; SELEX; ubiquitin ligase; WWP1; targeted drug delivery aptamer; SELEX; ubiquitin ligase; WWP1; targeted drug delivery

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Tucker, W.O.; Kinghorn, A.B.; Fraser, L.A.; Cheung, Y.-W.; Tanner, J.A. Selection and Characterization of a DNA Aptamer Specifically Targeting Human HECT Ubiquitin Ligase WWP1. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 763.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Mol. Sci. EISSN 1422-0067 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top