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Side chain modified peptide nucleic acids (PNA) for knock-down of six3 in medaka embryos
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.
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.
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.
PNA; Knock down; Medaka; Six3
Inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Replication by Cell Membrane–Crossing Oligomers
Although rapidly becoming a valuable tool for gene silencing, regulation or editing in vitro, the direct transfer of small interfering ribonucleic acids (siRNAs) into cells is still an unsolved problem for in vivo applications. For the first time, we show that specific modifications of antisense oligomers allow autonomous passage into cell lines and primary cells without further adjuvant or coupling to a cell-penetrating peptide. For this reason, we termed the specifically modified oligonucleotides “cell membrane–crossing oligomers” (CMCOs). CMCOs targeted to various conserved regions of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 were tested and compared with nontargeting CMCOs. Analyses of uninfected and infected cells incubated with labeled CMCOs revealed that the compounds were enriched in infected cells and some of the tested CMCOs exhibited a potent antiviral effect. Finally, the CMCOs did not exert any cytotoxicity and did not inhibit proliferation of the cells. In vitro, our CMCOs are promising candidates as biologically active anti-HIV reagents for future in vivo applications.
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