Poly(A) for Vital COVID-19 Research
Nothing is more at the forefront in scientific news right now than the Coronavirus pandemic.
Testing for the COVID-19 vaccine is at the top of the list for research scientists and there is dramatically increased demand for chemical materials to observe and measure coronavirus protein synthesis. Polyadenylic acid, or poly(A), is one of these critical compounds.
Poly(A) and Protein Synthesis
Polyadenylic acid is a compound known as a polynucleotide, and has been found attached to most mRNA strands.
RNA polymerase writes the code for mRNA, and once the mRNA strand is released, other enzymes build the Poly(A) tail.
Poly(A) has been used as an enzyme in relation to DNA and RNA research. When poly(A) polymerase creates a tail at the end of an mRNA strand, the poly(A) protects the strand from breaking down in water so that it can be preserved for further study.
Enzymes on mRNA molecules create polyadenylic acid. Then, once the poly(A) is formed it protects the mRNA strand it is tethered to from being split at its end with the help of a protein binder.
In fact, once attached, poly(A) helps transport mRNA out of the nucleus and also jumpstarts protein synthesis.
In the past, poly(A) has been used for a variety of other areas of research, as seen below! Read on to learn more about COVID-19 vaccination updates as well.
Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) Assay
Poly(A) has been used in facilitating polymerase chain reaction, or PCR. This process is used to make millions, even billions, of DNA strands through replication. It requires primers and a DNA polymerase.
This allows researchers to obtain DNA samples large enough to study. Poly(A) has been used in studies utilizing PCR to analyze a DNA sample’s structure-function relationship, especially where PCR cannot be used until a DNA/RNA sample is primed first.
For example, in one study, poly(A) is paired with a multifunctional reverse transcriptase (RT) in order to replicate environmental cDNA. Nucleotides are synthesized on the ends of RNA molecule samples and then become sites where the process of PCR can occur where it couldn’t before.
Exo1’s Exonuclease Inhibition
Exonucleases are enzymes that split nucleotides, and they have a key role in making sure cancerous mutations are suppressed via DNA maintenance, among other things.
Exonucleases bind with poly(ADP-ribose), which then promotes Exo1 access to the site of DNA damage in a flash!
Poly(A) can be used when studying bonds, such as the one between Exo1 and poly(ADP-ribose).
In a study, poly(A) actually had little effect on inhibiting the Exo1 exonuclease process, so it has been determined RNA is a less effective inhibitor than PAR polymers. This means it is less effective at keeping DNA strands intact.
It may sound like a failed attempt to prevent the exonuclease process, but knowing what does and what does not work is equally important!
COVID-19 Research and RNA
As studies show, poly(A) can be used to preserve the quality and structural integrity of an otherwise water-soluble mRNA strand. This allows scientists to use such mRNA samples in the pursuit of life-saving vaccinations, such as the one for COVID-19 which is still being tested in clinical trials.
RNA is an essential component in understanding how COVID-19 operates, and how to best treat it. Preserving RNA samples for testing is vital in vaccine research. Using a polynucleotide like poly(A) attached to the SARS-CoV-2 RNA can retain its structural integrity for observation.
While we may be still yet without a coronavirus vaccination, scientists do have methods of preservation to study and facilitate the research necessary to find it.
Your Ally in Discovery
At AG Scientific, we are proud to serve our customers and scientific community by offering the highest quality raw materials for breakthrough research. We source poly(A) and other enzymes, and tailor custom reagents to meet your needs.
We are still open during these difficult and unprecedented times to ensure you receive the best quality service and products. Questions? Contact our team - we are here to support you and your research endeavors.
Be well and stay safe!