The development of agents capable of cleaving RNA and DNA has attracted considerable attention of researchers in the last few years, because of their application in biotechnology and pharmacology. Artificial nucleases are rationally designed to imitate the active centers of natural enzymes by simple structures possessing minimal sets of the most important characteristics that are essential for catalysis. Being less efficient and specific than natural enzymes, the primitive mimics are smaller, more robust and able to function in a broad range of conditions. The authors of the present volume summarize the state of the art in the rapidly developing field of artificial nucleases. The chapters deal with mechanisms of RNA and DNA cleavage by chemical agents and natural enzymes, development of new nucleic acid-cleaving agents, applications of artificial nucleases, and design of oligonucleotide conjugates with RNA- and DNA-cleaving agents.
Introduction * DNA Hydrolysis: Mechanism and Reactivity * Active Site of Ribonuclease A * Structural Considerations Concerning Cleavage of RNA * Cleavage of RNA by Imidazole * Principles of Nucleic Acid Cleavage by Metal Ions * Allosterically Controlled Ribozymes as Artificial Ribonucleases * Small Ribonuclease Mimics * Copper-Containing Nuclease Mimics: Synthetic Models and Biochemical Applications * RNA-Cleaving Oligonucleotide-Peptide Conjugates * Sequence Selective Artificial Ribonucleases Employing Metal Ions as Scissors * Site-Specific Artificial Ribonucleases: Conjugates of Oligonucleotides with Catalytic Groups * DNA and RNA Cleavage Mediated by Phenanthroline - Cuprous Oligonucleotides: From Properties to Applications * Sequence-Specific Cleavage of Double-Stranded DNA * Bleomycin-Oligonucleotide Conjugates as Site-Specific Nucleases.