Genetically Encoded, Functional Single-Strand RNA Origami: Anticoagulant

Abhichart Krissanaprasit, Carson Key, Michael Fergione, Kristen Froehlich, Sahil Pontula, Matthew Hart, Pedro Carriel, Jørgen Kjems, Ebbe Sloth Andersen, Thomas H LaBean

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Nucleic acid aptamers selected for thrombin binding have been previously shown to possess anticoagulant activity; however, problems with rapid renal clearance and short circulation half-life have prevented translation to clinical usefulness. Here, a family of self-folding, functional RNA origami molecules bearing multiple thrombin-binding RNA aptamers and showing significantly improved anticoagulant activity is described. These constructs may overcome earlier problems preventing clinical use of nucleic acid anticoagulants. RNA origami structures are designed in silico and produced by in vitro transcription from DNA templates. Incorporation of 2'-fluoro-modified C- and U-nucleotides is shown to increase nuclease resistance and stability during long-term storage. Specific binding to human thrombin as well as high stability in the presence of RNase A and in human plasma, comparatively more stable than DNA is demonstrated. The RNA origami constructs show anticoagulant activity sevenfold greater than free aptamer and higher than previous DNA weave tiles decorated with DNA aptamers. Anticoagulation activity is maintained after at least 3 months of storage in buffer at 4 °C. Additionally, inhibition of thrombin is shown to be reversed by addition of single-stranded DNA antidotes. This project paves the way for development of RNA origami for potential therapeutic applications especially as a safer surgical anticoagulant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1808262
JournalAdvanced Materials
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • RNA aptamers
  • RNA origami
  • anticoagulants
  • in vitro transcription
  • nucleic acid nanotechnology


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