Herein, we describe the synthesis and spectroscopic properties of five novel pyrrolodeoxycytidine analogs, and the related 5-(1-pyrenylethynyl)-2’-deoxycytidine analog; as well as fluorescence characterization of 5-(p-methoxyphenylethynyl)-2’-deoxyuridine. Within this series of compounds, rigidification of the structure from 6-phenylpyrrolodeoxycytidine to 5,6-benzopyrroldeoxycytidine made remarkable improvement of the fluorescence quantum yield (Φ ~1, EtOH) and substantially increased the Stokes shift. Exchange of the phenyl group of 6-phenylpyrrolodeoxycytidine for other heterocycles (benzofuryl or indolyl) produced an increase in the extinction coefficient at the excitation wavelength while preserving high quantum yields. The steady-state fluorescence response to the environment was determined by sensitivity of Stokes shift to solvent polarity. The effect of solvent polarity on fluorescence emission intensity was concurrently examined and showed that 5,6-benzopyrrolodeoxycytidine is highly sensitive to the presence of water. On the other hand, the previously synthesized 5-(p-methoxyphenylethynyl)-2’-deoxyuridine was found to be sensitive to solvent viscosity indicating molecular rotor behavior.
Fluorescence; nucleobase; deoxycytidine; Sonogashira cross-coupling; solvent polarity; solvent viscosity
Thrombin-binding aptamer (TBA) is a 15-nt DNA oligomer that efficiently inhibits thrombin. It has been shown that TBA folds into an anti-parallel unimolecular G-quadruplex. Its three-dimensional chair-like structure consists of two G-tetrads connected by TT and TGT loops. TBA undergoes fast degradation by nucleases in vivo. To improve the nuclease resistance of TBA, a number of modified analogs have been proposed. Here, we describe anomeric modifications of TBA. Non-natural α anomers were used to replace selected nucleotides in the loops and core. Significant stabilization of the quadruplex was observed for the anomeric modification of TT loops at T4 and T13. Replacement of the core guanines either prevents quadruplex assembly or induces rearrangement in G-tetrads. It was found that the anticoagulant properties of chimeric aptamers could be retained only with intact TT loops. On the contrary, modification of the TGT loop was shown to substantially increase nuclease resistance of the chimeric aptamer without a notable disturbance of its anticoagulant activity.
thombin binding aptamer; anomer; quadruplex; anticoagulant properties; nuclease resistance
Among various Z-form DNA inducers, such as transition metal complexes, polyamines and high ionic concentrations, 8-methylguanine have received attention as efficient chemical modifications. Although it is clear that m8–modified guanine base markedly stabilizes the Z conformation of short oligonucleotides under physiological salt conditions, how sequence composition affects the preference of Z-DNA is still not well established. In this study, various oligomers of d(CG)n or d(GC)n containing either 8-methylguanine in a different position were synthesized and their capacity of stabilizing Z-DNA were evaluated by CD spectra and then compared with each other. It is was found out that the Z-DNA stabilizing effect depend on the order of arrangement of m8G and m8rG in DNA strands and the center position is the most effective to stabilize the Z-DNA and promote the B to Z transition.
8-methylguanine; Z-form DNA; B-Z transition; CD spectra
Triplex structures generated by sequence-specific triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) have proven to be promising tools for gene targeting strategies. In addition, triplex technology has been highly utilized to study the molecular mechanisms of DNA repair, recombination and mutagenesis. However, triplex formation utilizing guanine-rich oligonucleotides as third strands can be inhibited by potassium-induced self-association resulting in G-quadruplex formation. We report here that guanine-rich TFOs partially substituted with 8-aza-7-deaza-guanine (PPG) have improved target site binding in potassium compared with TFOs containing the natural guanine base. We designed PPG-substituted TFOs to bind to a polypurine sequence in the supFG1 reporter gene. The binding efficiency of PPG-substituted TFOs to the target sequence was analyzed using electrophoresis mobility gel shift assays. We have determined that in the presence of potassium, the non-substituted TFO, AG30 did not bind to its target sequence, however binding was observed with the PPG-substituted AG30 under conditions with up to 140 mM KCl. The PPG-TFOs were able to maintain their ability to induce genomic modifications as measured by an assay for gene-targeted mutagenesis. In addition, these compounds were capable of triplex-induced DNA double strand breaks, which resulted in activation of apoptosis.
triplex-forming oligonucleotides; 8-aza-7-deaza-guanine
Modified peptide nucleic acids (PNA) containing one or two thymine PNA monomers derived from phenylalanine were synthesized. Triple helix formation by these modified PNAs with RNA and DNA hairpins having a variable base pair in the middle of the helix were studied using isothermal titration calorimetry and compared with triple helix formation by non-modified PNAs. While unmodified PNA had low sequence selectivity against mismatched hairpins, introduction of one or two phenylalanine-derived monomers significantly increased the mismatch discrimination and sequence selectivity of the modified PNA. Consistent with our previous observations, PNA formed more stable triple helices with RNA than with DNA. Interestingly, the phenylalanine modification further improved the preference of PNA for RNA over DNA hairpin.
PNA backbone modification; PNA-RNA triple helix; isothermal titration calorimetry; peptide nucleic acid; recognition of double-stranded RNA
The development of a new class of peptide nucleic acids (PNAs), i.e., gamma PNAs (γPNAs), creates the need for a general and effective method for its delivery into cells for regulating gene expression in mammalian cells. Here we report the antisense activity of a recently developed hydrophilic and biocompatible diethylene glycol (miniPEG)-based gamma peptide nucleic acid called MPγPNAs via its delivery by poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA)-based nanoparticle system. We show that MPγPNA oligomers designed to bind to the selective region of Chemokine Receptor 5 (CCR5) transcript, induce potent and sequence-specific antisense effects as compared with regular PNA oligomers. In addition, PLGA nanoparticle delivery of MPγPNAs is not toxic to the cells. The findings reported in this study provide a combination of γPNA technology and PLGA-based nanoparticle delivery method for regulating gene expression in live cells via the antisense mechanism.
CCR5; PEG; PNA; antisense; nanoparticle; γPNA
We have developed an assay for single strand DNA and RNA detection which is based on novel pyrene−perylene FRET pairs attached to short LNA/DNA probes. The assay is based on ratiometric emission upon binding of target DNA/RNA by three combinations of fluorescent LNA/DNA reporter strands. Specific geometry of the pyrene fluorophore attached to the 2′-amino group of 2′-amino-LNA in position 4 allows for the first time to efficiently utilize dipole−dipole orientation parameter for sensing of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in nucleic acid targets by FRET. Using novel probes, SNP detection is achieved with advantages of large Stokes shift (115 nm), high fluorescence quantum yields and low limit of target detection values (< 5 nM). Rapid and accurate genotyping of highly polymorphic HIV Pol cDNA and RNA fragments performed herein proves the possibility for broad application of the novel pyrene−perylene FRET pairs, e.g., in imaging and clinical diagnostics.
oligonucleotide; LNA; pyrene; perylene; fluorescence; FRET; SNP
The affinity-mediated selection of large libraries of DNA-encoded small molecules is increasingly being used to initiate drug discovery programs. We present universal methods for the encoding of such libraries using the chemical ligation of oligonucleotides. These methods may be used to record the chemical history of individual library members during combinatorial synthesis processes. We demonstrate three different chemical ligation methods as examples of information recording processes (writing) for such libraries and two different cDNA-generation methods as examples of information retrieval processes (reading) from such libraries. The example writing methods include uncatalyzed and Cu(I)-catalyzed alkyne-azide cycloadditions and a novel photochemical thymidine-psoralen cycloaddition. The first reading method “relay primer-dependent bypass” utilizes a relay primer that hybridizes across a chemical ligation junction embedded in a fixed-sequence and is extended at its 3′-terminus prior to ligation to adjacent oligonucleotides. The second reading method “repeat-dependent bypass” utilizes chemical ligation junctions that are flanked by repeated sequences. The upstream repeat is copied prior to a rearrangement event during which the 3′-terminus of the cDNA hybridizes to the downstream repeat and polymerization continues. In principle these reading methods may be used with any ligation chemistry and offer universal strategies for the encoding (writing) and interpretation (reading) of DNA-encoded chemical libraries.
chemical ligation; click chemistry; combinatorial chemistry; drug discovery; modified nucleotide; photochemistry; polymerase; template-dependent polymerization; unimolecular information recording and retrieval; in vitro selection
As a proof-of-principle, two hetero-bimetallic PNA oligomers containing a ruthenium(II) polypyridyl and a cyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl complex have been prepared by serial combination of solid-phase peptide coupling and in-solution thiol chemistry. Solid-phase N-terminus attachment of Ru(II)-polypyridyl carboxylic acid derivative, C1, onto the thiol-functionalized PNA backbone (H-a-a-g-t-c-t-g-c-linker-cys-NH2) has been performed by standard peptide coupling method. As two parallel approaches, the strong affinity of thiols for maleimide and haloacetyl group has been exploited for subsequent post-SPPS addition of cymantrene-based organometallic cores, C2 and C3. Michael-like addition and thioether ligation of thiol functionalized PNA1 (H-gly-a-a-g-t-c-t-g-c-linker-cys-NH2) and PNA2 (C1-a-a-g-t-c-t-g-c-linker-cys-NH2) to cymantrene maleimide and chloroacetyl derivatives, C2 and C3, respectively, has been performed. The synthesized ruthenium(II)-cymantrenyl PNA oligomers have been characterized by mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and IR spectroscopy. The distinct Mn-CO vibrational IR stretches, between 1,924–2,074 cm−1, have been used as markers to confirm the presence of cymantrenyl units in the PNA sequences and the purity of the HPLC-purified PNA thioethers assessed using LC-MS.
peptide nucleic acids; hetero-metalation; ruthenium; cymantrene; thioether; organometallics
Fluorescent probes for the detection of a double-stranded DNA were prepared by labeling a triplex-forming DNA oligonucleotide with a thiazole orange (TO) dimer unit. They belong to ECHO (exciton-controlled hybridization-sensitive fluorescent oligonucleotide) probes which we have previously reported. The excitonic interaction between the two TO molecules was expected to effectively suppress the background fluorescence of the probes. The applicability of the ECHO probes for the detection of double-stranded DNA was confirmed by examining the thermal stability and photophysical and kinetic properties of the DNA triplexes formed by the ECHO probes.
DNA; duplex; triplex; fluorescence; probe; thiazole orange; excitonic interaction
The synthesis of an azide containing PNA monomer is described. The monomer was incorporated into two PNA sequences for the purpose of synthesizing an intercalating fluorophore-labeled PNA and a metal binding hairpin using a solid phase copper catalyzed azide-alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition (CuAAC). Click chemistry was performed using 2-ethynylfluorene or 1-ethynylpyrene to add a fluorophore to the PNA, which were tested for their ability to recognize an abasic site on a DNA target. A PNA hairpin possessing azide monomers at each termini was synthesized and reacted with 2-ethynylpyridine to form a hairpin that is stabilized by Ni2+.
click chemistry; pyrene; fluorene; metal-binding; hairpin; on-resin; Huisgen cycloaddition
Development of artificial nucleic acids for therapeutic applications warrants that the oligomers be endowed with high specificity, enzymatic stability and with no/reduced off-target effects. The balance between strength of the duplex with target RNA and enzyme stability is therefore the key factor for the designed modification. The chiral serinol derivative combines the attributes of amino- and methoxy- substitution when at 2′- position and at 3′- and 5′- ends, effectively balancing the duplex stability and resistance to hydrolytic enzymes. The biological effect seen is the remarkable improvement in splice correction by the steric blocking antisense oligonucleotide with just 4 modified units, i.e ~20% substitution with R-aminomethoxypropyloxy (R-AMP)-thymidine within the 2′-OMe 18mer sequence.
splice correction; steric-blocking; antisense; oligonucleotides
Here we describe the first example of selective reductive amination in biological fluids using split aptamer proximity ligation (StAPL). Utilizing the cocaine split aptamer, we demonstrate small-molecule-dependent ligation that is dose-dependent over a wide range of target concentrations in buffer, human blood serum and artificial urine medium. We explore the substrate binding preferences of the split aptamer and find that the cinchona alkaloids quinine and quinidine bind to the aptamer with higher affinity than cocaine. This increased affinity leads to improved detection limits for these small-molecule targets. We also demonstrate that linker length and hydrophobicity impact the efficiency of split aptamer ligation. The ability to carry out selective chemical transformations using non-bioorthogonal chemistry in media where competing reactive groups are present highlights the power of the increased effective molarity provided by DNA assembly. Obviating the need for bioorthogonal chemistry would dramatically expand the repertoire of chemical transformations available for use in templated reactions such as proximity ligation assays, in turn enabling the development of novel methods for biomolecule detection.
DNA; reductive amination; split aptamer; templated reaction; bioorthogonal
We have developed an assay for single strand DNA or RNA detection which is based on the homo-DNA templated Staudinger reduction of the profluorophore rhodamine-azide. The assay is based on a three component system, consisting of a homo-DNA/DNA hybrid probe, a set of homo-DNA reporter strands and the target DNA or RNA. We present two different formats of the assay (Omega probe and linear probe) in which the linear probe was found to perform best with catalytic turnover of the reporter strands (TON: 8) and a match/mismatch discrimination of up to 19. The advantage of this system is that the reporting (homo-DNA) and sensing (DNA) domain are decoupled from each other since the two pairing systems are bioorthogonal. This allows independent optimization of either domain which may lead to higher selectivity in in vivo imaging.
homo-DNA; Staudinger reaction; RNA diagnostics; fluorescence sensing; oligonucleotides
Fmoc- and Boc-protected modified monomers bearing 5-azidomethyluracil nucleobase were synthesized. Four different solid-phase synthetic strategies were tested in order to evaluate the application of this series of monomers for the solid-phase synthesis of modified PNA. The azide was used as masked amine for the introduction of amide-linked functional groups, allowing the production of a library of compounds starting from a single modified monomer. The azide function was also exploited as reactive group for the modification of PNA in solution via azide-alkyne click cycloaddition.
modified uracil; peptide nucleic acids; PNA; solid-phase modification; click reaction; orthogonal protection
PNA probes for the specific detection of DNA from olive oil samples by microarray technology were developed. The presence of as low as 5% refined hazelnut (Corylus avellana) oil in extra-virgin olive oil (Olea europaea L.) could be detected by using a PNA microarray. A set of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the Actin gene of Olive was chosen as a model for evaluating the ability of PNA probes for discriminating olive cultivars. Both unmodified and C2-modified PNAs bearing an arginine side-chain were used, the latter showing higher sequence specificity. DNA extracted from leaves of three different cultivars (Ogliarola leccese, Canino and Frantoio) could be easily discriminated using a microarray with unmodified PNA probes, whereas discrimination of DNA from oil samples was more challenging, and could be obtained only by using chiral PNA probes.
PNA; olive oil; hazelnut oil; SNP; cultivar identification; DNA fingerprinting
Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) is one of the most widely used synthetic DNA analogs. Conjugation of functional molecules to PNA is very effective to further widen its potential applications. For this purpose, here we report the synthesis of several ligand monomers and introduced them to PNA. These ligand-modified PNAs attract cerium ion and are useful for site-selective DNA hydrolysis. It should be noted that these ligands on PNA are also effective even under the conditions of invasion complex.
cerium; DNA; hydrolysis; ligand; metal ion; peptide nucleic acid
A homothymine PNA decamer bearing four lysine residues has been synthesized as a probe for the development of amperometric sensors. On one hand, the four amino groups introduced make this derivative nine times more soluble than the corresponding homothymine PNA decamer and, on the other hand, allow the stable anchoring of this molecule on Au nanostructured surface through the terminal -NH2 moieties. In particular, XPS and electrochemical investigations performed with hexylamine, as a model molecule, indicate that the stable deposition of primary amine derivatives on such a nanostructured surface is possible and involves the free electron doublet on the nitrogen atom. This finding indicates that this PNA derivative is suitable to act as the probe molecule for the development of amperometric sensors.
Thanks to the molecular probe chosen and to the use of a nanostructured surface as the substrate for the sensor assembly, the device proposed makes possible the selective recognition of the target oligonucleotide sequence with very high sensitivity.
DNA recognition; PNA; amperometric genosensors; nanostructured surfaces; amine deposition
PNAs conjugated to carrier peptides have been employed for the targeting of miRNA precursor, with the aim to develop molecules able to interfere in the pre-miRNA processing. The capability of the molecules to bind pre-miRNA has been tested in vitro by fluorescence assayes on Thiazole Orange labeled molecules and in vivo, in K562 cells, evaluating the amount of miRNA produced after treatment of cells with two amounts of PNAs.
FACS; fluorescence; miR-210; PNA; pre-miR; thiazole orange
One of the clinical features of cystic fibrosis (CF) is a deep inflammatory process, which is characterized by production and release of cytokines and chemokines, among which interleukin 8 (IL-8) represents one of the most important. Accordingly, there is a growing interest in developing therapies against CF to reduce the excessive inflammatory response in the airways of CF patients. Since transcription factor NF-kappaB plays a critical role in IL-8 expression, the transcription factor decoy (TFD) strategy might be of interest. In order to demonstrate that TFD against NF-kappaB interferes with the NF-kappaB pathway we proved, by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) that treatment with TFD oligodeoxyribonucleotides of cystic fibrosis IB3–1 cells infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa leads to a decrease occupancy of the Il-8 gene promoter by NF-kappaB factors. In order to develop more stable therapeutic molecules, peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) based agents were considered. In this respect PNA-DNA-PNA (PDP) chimeras are molecules of great interest from several points of view: (1) they can be complexed with liposomes and microspheres; (2) they are resistant to DNases, serum and cytoplasmic extracts; (3) they are potent decoy molecules. By using electrophoretic mobility shift assay and RT-PCR analysis we have demonstrated that (1) the effects of PDP/PDP NF-kappaB decoy chimera on accumulation of pro-inflammatory mRNAs in P.aeruginosa infected IB3–1 cells reproduce that of decoy oligonucleotides; in particular (2) the PDP/PDP chimera is a strong inhibitor of IL-8 gene expression; (3) the effect of PDP/PDP chimeras, unlike those of ODN-based decoys, are observed even in the absence of protection with lipofectamine. These informations are of great impact, in our opinion, for the development of stable molecules to be used in non-viral gene therapy of cystic fibrosis.
NF-kappaB; transcription factor decoy; inflammation; Peptide Nucleic Acids; PNA-DNA chimeras
We describe the first enzymatic incorporation of an α-L-LNA nucleotide into an oligonucleotide. It was found that the 5′-triphosphate of α-L-LNA is a substrate for the DNA polymerases KOD, 9°Nm, Phusion and HIV RT. Three dispersed α-L-LNA thymine nucleotides can be incorporated into DNA strands by all four polymerases, but they were unable to perform consecutive incorporations of α-L-LNA nucleotides. In addition it was found that primer extension can be achieved using templates containing one α-L-LNA nucleotide.
enzymatic synthesis; modified nucleotide; polymerase; triphosphate; α-L-LNA
Efficient intracellular delivery is essential for high activity of nucleic acids based therapeutics, including antisense agents. Several strategies have been developed and practically all rely on auxiliary transfection reagents such as cationic lipids, cationic polymers and cell penetrating peptides as complexing agents and carriers of the nucleic acids. However, uptake mechanisms remain rather poorly understood, and protocols always require optimization of transfection parameters. Considering that cationic transfection complexes bind to and thus may up-concentrate on the cell surface, we have now quantitatively compared the cellular activity (in the pLuc705 HeLa cell splice correction system) of PNA antisense oligomers using lipoplex delivery of cholesterol- and bisphosphonate-PNA conjugates, polyplex delivery via a PNA-polyethyleneimine conjugate and CPP delivery via a PNA-octaarginine conjugate upon varying the cell culture transfection volume (and cell density) at fixed PNA concentration. The results show that for all delivery modalities the cellular antisense activity increases (less than proportionally) with increasing volume (in some cases accompanied with increased toxicity), and that this effect is more pronounced at higher cell densities. These results emphasize that transfection efficacy using cationic carriers is critically dependent on parameters such as transfection volume and cell density, and that these must be taken into account when comparing different delivery regimes.
antisense; cellular delivery; lipoplex; octaarginine (CPP); peptide nucleic acid (PNA); polyethyleneimine (PEI)
The design and facile synthesis of sterically constrained new analogs of PNA having gem-dimethyl substitutions on glycine (dmg-PNA-T) is presented. The PNA oligomers [aminoethyl dimethylglycyl (aedmg) and aminopropyl dimethylglycyl (apdmg)] synthesized from the monomers 6 and 12) effected remarkable stabilization of homothyminePNA2:homoadenine DNA/RNA triplexes and mixed base sequence duplexes with target cDNA or RNA. They show a higher binding to DNA relative to that with isosequential RNA. This may be a structural consequence of the sterically rigid gem-dimethyl group, imposing a pre-organized conformation favorable for complex formation with cDNA. The results complement our previous work that had demonstrated that cyclohexanyl-PNAs favor binding with cRNA compared with cDNA and imply that the biophysical and structural properties of PNAs can be directed by introduction of the right rigidity in PNA backbone devoid of chirality. This approach of tweaking selectivity in binding of PNA constructs by installing gem-dimethyl substitution in PNA backbone can be extended to further fine-tuning by similar substitution in the aminoethyl segment as well either individually or in conjunction with present substitution.
(α,α-dimethyl)glycyl PNA; gem-dimethylglycyl PNA; peptide nucleic acid; PNA-DNA binding; sterically constrained PNA analog; α-aminoisobutyric acid PNA
Efficient cell delivery of antisense oligonucleotides (ONs) is a key issue for their potential therapeutic use. It has been shown recently that some ONs can be delivered into cells without the use of transfection agents (gymnosis), but this generally requires cell incubation over several days and high amounts of ONs (micromolar concentrations). Here we have targeted microRNA 122 (miR-122), a small non-coding RNA involved in regulation of lipid metabolism and in the replication of hepatitis C virus, with ONs of different chemistries (anti-miRs) by gymnotic delivery in cell culture. Using a sensitive dual-luciferase reporter assay, anti-miRs were screened for their ability to enter liver cells gymnotically and inhibit miR-122 activity. Efficient miR-122 inhibition was obtained with cationic PNAs and 2'-O-methyl (OMe) and Locked Nucleic Acids (LNA)/OMe mixmers containing either phosphodiester (PO) or phosphorothioate (PS) linkages at sub-micromolar concentrations when incubated with cells for just 4 hours. Furthermore, PNA and PS-containing anti-miRs were able to sustain miR-122 inhibitory effects for at least 4 days. LNA/OMe PS anti-miRs were the most potent anti-miR chemistry tested in this study, an ON chemistry that has been little exploited so far as anti-miR agents towards therapeutics.
2’-O-Methyl; anti-miR; delivery; Gymnosis; Locked Nucleic Acids; miR-122; miRNA; Peptide Nucleic Acids; phosphorothioate; transfection
Aminoalkyl and alkyne-tagged PNA HyBeacons have been synthesized, labeled with fluorescein via conventional amide bond or triazole formation (click chemistry) and used to detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) implicated in statin-induced myopathy. The PNA HyBeacons gave much better mismatch/mutant discrimination than conventional DNA HyBeacons but smaller fluorescence changes on melting.
fluorescence melting; genetic analysis; HyBeacon; PNA; SNPs; statin-induced myopathy