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Logo of bmcbiotBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Biotechnology
 
BMC Biotechnol. 2012; 12: 50.
Published online 2012 August 17. doi:  10.1186/1472-6750-12-50
PMCID: PMC3469332

Side chain modified peptide nucleic acids (PNA) for knock-down of six3 in medaka embryos

Abstract

Background

Synthetic antisense molecules have an enormous potential for therapeutic applications in humans. The major aim of such strategies is to specifically interfere with gene function, thus modulating cellular pathways according to the therapeutic demands. Among the molecules which can block mRNA function in a sequence specific manner are peptide nucleic acids (PNA). They are highly stable and efficiently and selectively interact with RNA. However, some properties of non-modified aminoethyl glycine PNAs (aegPNA) hamper their in vivo applications.

Results

We generated new backbone modifications of PNAs, which exhibit more hydrophilic properties. When we examined the activity and specificity of these novel phosphonic ester PNAs (pePNA) molecules in medaka (Oryzias latipes) embryos, high solubility and selective binding to mRNA was observed. In particular, mixing of the novel components with aegPNA components resulted in mixed PNAs with superior properties. Injection of mixed PNAs directed against the medaka six3 gene, which is important for eye and brain development, resulted in specific six3 phenotypes.

Conclusions

PNAs are well established as powerful antisense molecules. Modification of the backbone with phosphonic ester side chains further improves their properties and allows the efficient knock down of a single gene in fish embryos.

Keywords: PNA, Knock down, Medaka, Six3

Articles from BMC Biotechnology are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central