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1.  RNA-DNA sequence differences spell genetic code ambiguities 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(3):69-70.
A recent paper in Science by Li et al. 20111 reports widespread sequence differences in the human transcriptome between RNAs and their encoding genes termed RNA-DNA differences (RDDs). The findings could add a new layer of complexity to gene expression but the study has been criticized. 
PMCID: PMC3324336  PMID: 22567189
gene expression; RNA editing; RNA-DNA differences; transcription; transcriptome
2.  Potent and sustained cellular inhibition of miR-122 by lysine-derivatized peptide nucleic acids (PNA) and phosphorothioate locked nucleic acid (LNA)/2'-O-methyl (OMe) mixmer anti-miRs in the absence of transfection agents 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(3):71-78.
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.
PMCID: PMC3324337  PMID: 22567190
2’-O-Methyl; anti-miR; delivery; Gymnosis; Locked Nucleic Acids; miR-122; miRNA; Peptide Nucleic Acids; phosphorothioate; transfection
3.  PNA HyBeacons for analysis of human mutations related to statin-induced myopathy 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(3):79-89.
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.
PMCID: PMC3324338  PMID: 22567191
fluorescence melting; genetic analysis; HyBeacon; PNA; SNPs; statin-induced myopathy
4.  Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) cell penetrating peptide (CPP) conjugates as carriers for cellular delivery of antisense oligomers 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(3):90-99.
We have explored the merits of a novel delivery strategy for the antisense oligomers based on cell penetrating peptide (CPP) conjugated to a carrier PNA with sequence complementary to part of the antisense oligomer. The effect of these carrier CPP-PNAs was evaluated by using antisense PNA targeting splicing correction of the mutated luciferase gene in the HeLa pLuc705 cell line, reporting cellular (nuclear) uptake of the antisense PNA via luciferase activity measurement. Carrier CPP-PNA constructs were studied in terms of construct modification (with octaarginine and/or decanoic acid) and carrier PNA length (to adjust binding affinity). In general, the carrier CPP-PNA constructs including the ones with decanoyl modification provided significant increase of the activity of unmodified antisense PNA as well as of antisense octaarginine-PNA conjugates. Antisense activity, and by inference cellular delivery, of unmodified antisense PNA was enhanced at least 20-fold at 6 μM upon the complexation with an equimolar amount of nonamer carrier decanoyl-CPP-PNA (Deca-cPNA1(9)-(D-Arg)8). The antisense activity of a CPP-PNA ((D-Arg)8-asPNA) (at 2 μM) was improved 6-fold and 8-fold by a heptamer carrier CPP-PNA (cPNA1(7)-(D-Arg)8) and hexamer carrier decanoyl-CPP-PNA (Deca-cPNA1(6)-(D-Arg)8), respectively, without showing significant additional cellular toxicity. Most interestingly, the activity reached the same level obtained by enhancement with endosomolytic chloroquine (CQ) treatment, suggesting that the carrier might facilitate endosomal escape. Furthermore, 50% downregulation of luciferase expression at 60 nM siRNA was obtained using this carrier CPP-PNA delivery strategy (with CQ co-treatment) for a single stranded antisense RNA targeting normal luciferase mRNA. These results indicated that CPP-PNA carriers may be used as effective cellular delivery vectors for different types of antisense oligomers and also allows use of combinations of (at least two) different CPP ligands.
PMCID: PMC3324339  PMID: 22567192
antisense; carrier; cell penetrating peptide (CPP); cellular delivery; peptide nucleic acid (PNA); siRNA
5.  Artificial DNA structures 
PMCID: PMC3166487  PMID: 21912724
6.  A ribozyme transcribed by a ribozyme 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(2):40-42.
Prominent current ideas on how life emerged on Earth include an RNA world hypothesis in which RNA performed informational as well as catalytic functions in the absence of both DNA and protein. Demonstration of a self-replicative system based on ribonucleic acid polymers as both information carriers and catalysts would lend support to such a scenario. A pivotal component of this system would be an RNA dependent RNA polymerase ribozyme capable of replicating its own RNA gene. Recent work from the Holliger group at the Laboratory for Molecular Biology in Cambridge has provided synthetic ribozymes1 that just might foreshadow the future engineering of such self-replicative systems.
PMCID: PMC3166488  PMID: 21912725
ribozyme; RNA dependent RNA polymerase; In vitro evolution; RNA engineering; transcription
7.  Noncovalent binding and fluorogenic response of cyanine dyes to DNA homoquadruplex and PNA-DNA heteroquadruplex structures 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(2):43-49.
Two symmetrical cyanine dyes based on benzothiazole heterocycles and a trimethine bridge were found to bind to a parallel-stranded DNA guanine quadruplex based on the MYC oncogene promoter sequence with high nanomolar affinity and 1:1 stoichiometry. The dyes exhibited substantial fluorescence enhancements upon binding. In the presence of homologous guanine-rich peptide nucleic acid oligomers, PNA-DNA heteroquadruplexes were formed. The dyes retained their ability to bind to the heteroquadruplexes at low micromolar concentrations and with varying fluorescence enhancements, although indeterminate stoichiometries preclude quantitative comparison of the affinities with the DNA homoquadruplex precursor. The difference in fluorescence enhancement between DNA homoquadruplex and PNA-DNA heteroquadruplex allows the dyes to be used as fluorogenic indicators of hybridization in a facile method for determining PNA-DNA stoichiometry.
PMCID: PMC3166489  PMID: 21912726
PNA-DNA heteroquadruplex; cyanine dyes; hybridization; small molecule-quadruplex recognition; fluorescence enhancement
8.  Pyrrolidinyl peptide nucleic acid with α/β-peptide backbone 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(2):50-59.
We describe herein a new conformationally constrained analog of PNA carrying an alternating α/β amino acid backbone consisting of (2′R,4′R)-nucleobase-subtituted proline and (1S,2S)-2-aminocyclopentanecarboxylic acid (acpcPNA). The acpcPNA has been synthesized and evaluated for DNA, RNA and self-pairing properties by thermal denaturation experiments. It can form antiparallel hybrids with complementary DNA with high affinity and sequence specificity. Unlike other PNA systems, the thermal stability of acpcPNA·DNA hybrid is largely independent of G+C contents, and is generally higher than that of acpcPNA·RNA hybrid with the same sequence. Thermodynamic parameters analysis suggest that the A·T base pairs in the acpcPNA·DNA hybrids are enthalpically stabilized over G·C pairs. The acpcPNA also shows a hitherto unreported behavior, namely the inability to form self-pairing hybrids. These unusual properties should make the new acpcPNA a potentially useful candidate for various applications including microarray probes and antigene agents.
PMCID: PMC3166490  PMID: 21912727
peptide nucleic acid; nucleic acid; DNA recognition; RNA recognition; pre-organization; foldamer; α/β-peptide
9.  Sensitive detection of nucleic acids by PNA hybridization directed co-localization of fluorescent beads 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(2):60-66.
We have designed a pair of biotinylated peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes targeting two sequences in 18S rRNA (from the parasite Trypanosoma brucei) at a distance of 191 nt (corresponding to maximum distance of ca. 60 nm) from each other. The PNA probes were individually bound to (strept)avidin-coated fluorescent beads, differing in size and color [green beads (1 µm) and red beads (5.9 µm)], thereby allowing distinct detection of each PNA probe by conventional fluorescence microscopy. These two PNA beads showed easily detectable co-localization when simultaneously hybridizing to a target nucleic acid. The assay detected the parasite 18S rRNA down to 1.6 fmol while there was no such co-localization visible with human 18S rRNA not containing the PNA targets. Furthermore, the assay showed positive detection with 1.6 ng of total RNA (corresponding to RNA from ca. 300 parasites). Upon further optimization this method may provide a new tool for a diagnosis of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) and it may more generally have applications within diagnostics for (neglected) infectious diseases.
PMCID: PMC3166491  PMID: 21912728
diagnostics; fluorescence microscopy; fluorescent bead; PNA; ribosomal RNA; Trypanosome
10.  Natural Arsenate DNA? 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(1):4-5.
The recent paper by Wolfe-Simon et al.1 reporting a bacterial strain, which is able to grow in high concentrations of arsenate, apparently in the absence of phosphate, and claims that in this strain arsenate is substituting for phosphate, e.g. in nucleic acids (Figure 1), was highly profiled, attracted broad attention, and almost immediately resulted in heavy scientific criticism (see e.g. 2–7).
PMCID: PMC3116578  PMID: 21686246
Arsenate; DNA; evolution; origin of life; bacteria
11.  Targeted gene correction using psoralen, chlorambucil and camptothecin conjugates of triplex forming peptide nucleic acid (PNA) 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(1):23-32.
Gene correction activation effects of a small series of triplex forming peptide nucleic acid (PNA) covalently conjugated to the DNA interacting ligands psoralen, chlorambucil and camptothecin targeted proximal to a stop codon mutation in an EGFP reporter gene were studied. A 15-mer homopyrimidine PNA conjugated to the topoisomerase I inhibitor camptothecin was found to increase the frequency of repair domain mediated gene correctional events of the EGFP reporter in an in vitro HeLa cell nuclear extract assay, whereas PNA psoralen or chlorambucil conjugates both of which form covalent and also interstrand crosslinked adducts with dsDNA dramatically decreased the frequency of targeted repair/correction. The PNA conjugates were also studied in mammalian cell lines upon transfection of PNA bound EGFP reporter vector and scoring repair of the EGFP gene by FACS analysis of functional EGFP expression. Consistent with the extract experiments, treatment with adduct forming PNA conjugates (psoralen and chlorambucil) resulted in a decrease in background correction frequencies in transiently transfected cells, whereas unmodified PNA or the PNA-camptothecin conjugate had little or no effect. These results suggest that simple triplex forming PNAs have little effect on proximal gene correctional events whereas PNA conjugates capable of forming DNA adducts and interstrand crosslinks are strong inhibitors. Most interestingly the PNA conjugated to the topoisomerase inhibitor, camptothecin enhanced repair in nuclear extract. Thus the effects and use of camptothecin conjugates in gene targeted repair merit further studies.
PMCID: PMC3116579  PMID: 21686249
PNA; triplex; gene correction; repair; DNA modification
12.  Antisense mediated exon skipping therapy for duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(1):6-15.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a lethal disease caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene (DMD) that result in the absence of essential muscle protein dystrophin. Among many different approaches for DMD treatment, exon skipping, mediated by antisense oligonucleotides, is one of the most promising methods for restoration of dystrophin expression. This approach has been tested extensively targeting different exons in numerous models both in vitro and in vivo. During the past 10 years, there has been a considerable progress by using DMD animal models involving three types of antisense oligonucleotides (2′-O-methyl phosphorothioate (2OME-PS), phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PMO)) and peptide nucleic acid (PNA).
PMCID: PMC3116580  PMID: 21686247
antisense; DMD; exon skipping; in vivo; splicing modulation; therapy
13.  A novel pseudo-complementary PNA G-C base pair 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(1):33-37.
Pseudo-complementary oligonucleotide analogues and mimics provide novel opportunities for targeting duplex structures in RNA and DNA. Previously, a pseudo-complementary A-T base pair has been introduced. Towards sequence unrestricted targeting, a pseudo-complementary G-C base pair consisting of the unnatural nucleobases n6-methoxy-2,6-diaminopurine (previously described in a DNA context) and N4-benzoylcytosine is now presented for design of pseudo-complementary PNA oligomers (pcPNAs).
PMCID: PMC3116581  PMID: 21686250
DNA recognition; hybridization; nucleobases; synthesis; PNA
14.  Molecular computing by PNA:PNA duplex formation 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(1):16-22.
Molecular computing is potentially one of the most powerful tools for the development of massive parallel computing protocols. In the present paper, a first example of the use of PNA:PNA interactions in molecular computing is described. A series of short PNA sequences have been designed with a four base stretch coding for variables and solutions. Hybridization of the components in different combinations was tested both in solution and in a microarray format. A series of PNA representing the solutions were spotted on a microarray surface in order to simulate the hardware. A series of PNA representing the variables, labeled with TAMRA, were used to interrogate the device enabling to solve non-deterministic logic operations. The system was shown to be able to solve a two-variable equation with a high signal to noise ratio. This paper intends to provide a proof of principle that PNA, on account of their stability and specificity of binding, are most suitable for constructing organic-type computers.
PMCID: PMC3116582  PMID: 21686248
molecular computing; SAT problem; PNA:PNA; microarray; fluorescence
15.  DNA breathes Hoogsteen 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(1):1-3.
A recent claim is discussed that Watson-Crick pairs in the naked duplex DNA spontaneously flip into Hoogsteen pairs under ordinary conditions. The claim is considered within the historical retrospective and is put into the broader context of DNA biophysics.
PMCID: PMC3116583  PMID: 21686245
duplex DNA breathing; hoogsteen base pairs; DNA structure; DNA motility

Results 1-15 (15)