Manjari Subramanian: Nucleic Acid Aptamer Selection for Myelin Basic Protein for the Prevention of Malignant Schwann Cells

Nucleic Acid Aptamer Selection for Myelin Basic Protein for the Prevention of Malignant Schwann Cells
Manjari Subramanian

  Myelin basic protein (MBP) promotes growth of myelin sheath throughout the nervous system. This is done by the protein binding to the lipids on the myelin membrane (Boggs, 2006). However occasionally a malignant myelin sheath cell forms in the process. When a malignant cell is formed, this inhibits the transmission of electric signals across synapses within the body (Kaur et al., 2008). MBP has the ability to distinguish the difference between a normal and malignant Schwann cell due to minute differences in the gene sequence (Kaur et al., 2008).

Figure 1 Myelin Basic Protein: Computer model of the protein (Meinl et al., 1993).

Aim 1: Select for the protein   
A multi-layered process will be involved in the selection for MBP. Aptamers, RNA protein markers, will be selected for myelin basic protein. Aptamers bind to proteins with complex specificity and high affinity to the specific protein target. This is because of the size advantage that aptamers have. Most aptamers are around one-tenth the size of an antibody (Boggs, 2006). This provides a set of tools that aid in area of therapeutic diagnostics in medicine. By selecting for MBP, the gene sequence of the protein can be verified before further development of an aptamer to distinguish between a normal and malignant cell.
Myelin basic protein has the newfound ability to help differentiate between a normal and a malignant Schwann cell. Researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry in Germany is to find an aptamer for MBP in T cells (1993). The study is still ongoing but in later stages and is now trying to pinpoint the exact location of where the aptamer binds to the target T cell (Meinl et al., 1993). Similarly, the first step is to find an aptamer that binds to this specific protein. Once found, further research as to how this aptamer can be utilized in cell differentiation will be determined.

Target Information:
Myelin Basic Protein
US Biologicals
Catalog # M9758-10
Target Cost: $327.00


Boggs JM (2006) Myelin basic protein: a multifunctional protein. Cell Mol Life Sci 63: 1945–1961. 

Kaur G, Roy I. Therapeutic applications of aptamers. National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER). Expert Opin Investing Drugs 17 January 2008. <>

Meinl, Weber, Drexler, Morelle, Ott, Saruhan-Direskeneli, Goebels, Ertl, Jechart, Giegerich. Myelin basic protein-specific T lymphocyte repertoire in multiple sclerosis. Complexity of the response and dominance of nested epitopes due to recruitment of multiple T cell clones. Published in Volume 92, Issue 6
J Clin Invest. 1993; 92(6):2633–2643 doi:10.1172/JCI116879

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