DNA Aptamers Against Airway Mucin Proteins for Therapeutics and Diagnostics


Mucus is a viscous bodily fluid composed of mucin proteins, inorganic salts, and water. MUC5AC and MUC5B are the two mucin proteins that makeup airway mucus. Elevated levels of MUC5AC can indicate certain diseases, like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Current treatments for mucus-associated respiratory diseases include using enzymes and chemical agents to clear mucus buildup. These existing treatments are limited in their ability to selectively target specific mucin proteins within mucus. Our research aims to select DNA aptamers that bind to MUC5AC or MUC5B, within mucus samples. We are optimizing a One-Pot SELEX or in vitro selection methodology previously used by other researchers to select aptamers against MUC16. Selected DNA aptamers with high binding affinity and specificity can detect airway mucin proteins and deliver engineered proteases to cleave and destroy them.