Next-generation bio-orthogonal reaction platform for RNA tagging and imaging

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Pure and Applied Chemistry


The overall objective of this Follow-on-Fund (FoF) proposal is to establish the commercial potential of a new imaging platform to detect gene expression. For this proof of concept study, we will focus on the development of a new generation of RNA imaging agents, which we call 'click-aptazymes'. Underpinning this work is the patented discovery of small molecules which undergo a selective chemical reaction with each other under biologically-relevant conditions to form a fluorescent product. We now wish to demonstrate the potential to increase the rate of this reaction catalyzed by an RNA molecule when expressed in a cell. This RNA imaging approach would provide distinct sensitivity advantages of existing imaging technologies if proof of concept experiments show that it is functional in a cellular environment.

In order to establish a route to market for this new technology, fundamental knowledge concerning the ability of RNA to catalyse the reaction, and the toxicity and cell uptake of the requisite components is essential. We envisage that the combined technical data and user engagement activities will streamline the commercial exploitation of these reagents in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.


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Description We were able to prepare a new generation of fluorophores and have submitted these to the Aptamer Group for the generation of aptamers. The outcome of this work will be known mid-2022
Exploitation Route The concept of developing fluorogenic aptamers is still valid. More time is required in order to reduce this into practice.
Sectors Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology