In this thesis two different assays for real-time RNA-cleaving deoxyribozyme and general nuclease kinetics are presented. Previous publications on nuclease kinetic assays have been riddled with drawbacks of labeling, discontinuity, cost etc. To tackle some of the drawbacks two assays were developed; the first specifically for RNA-cleaving deoxyribozymes to allow real-time kinetic measurements independently of whether the deoxyribozyme has low or high levels of secondary structure and when cleaving a full length messenger RNA (mRNA) substrate; the second assay was developed as a means to measure kinetics of virtually any nuclease by utilizing the single ubiquitous phenomenon in nuclease cleavage, the exposure of a phosphate upon hydrolysis of the phosphate backbone.

In Paper I the assay for RNA-cleaving deoxyribozyme kinetics is presented as a development of a previously published assay. The search for a fluorescent intercalating dye with more preferential properties than ethidium bromide resulted in PicoGreen. This dye allowed the assay to be used for deoxyribozymes with low and high levels of secondary structure as well as using full length mRNA substrates.

Paper II presents the second assay of this thesis, an assay where phosphates exposed by nuclease cleavage are released from their products by phosphatases; the released inorganic phosphates are quantified in real-time by a biosensor. The assay allows for real-time kinetics without the use of labels (i.e. natural enzymes and substrates). Regardless of whether the nuclease was a protein, nucleic acid-based, an exo- or endonuclease, processive or single-target nuclease the assay suited them equally well.


Professor Pia Ädelroth, Institutionen för biokemi och biofysik, Stockholms universitet
Docent Anna-Lena Ström, Institutionen för neurokemi, Stockholms universitet