An ELISA for RNA helicase activity: Application as an assay of the NS3 helicase of hepatitis C virus

Charles C. Hsu, Lih Hwa Hwang, Yu Wen Huang, Wei Kuang Chi, Yi Ding Chu, Ding Shinn Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A convenient enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for RNA helicase activity was developed with principles similar to the standard assay. The helicase ELISA utilizes a non-radioactive double-stranded substrate with a biotin-labeled template (long) strand hybridized to a digoxigenin (DIG)-labeled release (short) strand. The template strand binds to the wells of streptavidin-coated microtiter plates (SA-MTP) where the helicase catalyzes the unwinding reaction. Substrate not unwound retains the DIG-labeled release strand and is detected using anti-DIG coupled to horseradish peroxidase. Chromogenic detection follows. Absorbance measurement allows determination of unwinding efficiency of reactions. To demonstrate effectiveness, the ELISA-based assay was used to study the unwinding activity of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3 helicase. Using a known inhibitor of NS3 helicase activity and two mutant HCV helicases, the ability of the assay to screen potential anti-helicase drugs and putative helicases is illustrated. The helicase ELISA is more convenient than the standard helicase assay and is especially suited for the testing of large numbers of samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-599
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Dec 1998


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