Figure 1.) Lewy Body presentation in a human SN neuron. The Lewy Body is the blurry purple circle in the center of the photo. (from http://neuropathology.neoucom.edu/chapter9/images9/9-lb2.jpg)
Currently, the diagnosis of PD is based on the patient’s medical history and a neurological examination for deficient motor function. However, the accuracy of diagnosis is between 75 and 90% because many cases have uncommon presentations, especially in the early stages of the disease. The most accurate diagnosis of PD comes from finding Lewy bodies in the brain during autopsy.
Asynuc has been shown to accumulate in the cerebrospinal fluid and blood plasma of patients with PD (Tinsley et al.2010). An RNA aptamer with a high specificity and binding affinity for asynuc could be used to test the level of asynuc in a patient’s blood plasma. The aptamer would have a reporter sequence attached, which would indicate when the aptamer was bound to its target. An elevated level of asynuc would signify the presence of PD and could be a very useful diagnostic and research tool for the disease.
An antibody and DNA aptamer for asynuc have already been discovered. An RNA aptamer will expand PD research opportunities and might be more effective in reporting elevated levels of asynuc. RNA aptamers for asynuc will be selected for using the SELEX method. The specific aims of this project are to find an aptamer with high affinity and specificity for asynuc and to attach a reporter sequence that will indicate when asynuc is attached to the aptamer.
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