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      Efficient gene silencing by delivery of locked nucleic acid antisense oligonucleotides, unassisted by transfection reagents

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          Abstract

          For the past 15–20 years, the intracellular delivery and silencing activity of oligodeoxynucleotides have been essentially completely dependent on the use of a delivery technology (e.g. lipofection). We have developed a method (called ‘gymnosis’) that does not require the use of any transfection reagent or any additives to serum whatsoever, but rather takes advantage of the normal growth properties of cells in tissue culture in order to promote productive oligonucleotide uptake. This robust method permits the sequence-specific silencing of multiple targets in a large number of cell types in tissue culture, both at the protein and mRNA level, at concentrations in the low micromolar range. Optimum results were obtained with locked nucleic acid (LNA) phosphorothioate gap-mers. By appropriate manipulation of oligonucleotide dosing, this silencing can be continuously maintained with little or no toxicity for >240 days. High levels of oligonucleotide in the cell nucleus are not a requirement for gene silencing, contrary to long accepted dogma. In addition, gymnotic delivery can efficiently deliver oligonucleotides to suspension cells that are known to be very difficult to transfect. Finally, the pattern of gene silencing of in vitro gymnotically delivered oligonucleotides correlates particularly well with in vivo silencing. The establishment of this link is of particular significance to those in the academic research and drug discovery and development communities.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Disruption of GW bodies impairs mammalian RNA interference.

          The GW182 RNA-binding protein was initially shown to associate with a specific subset of mRNAs and to reside within discrete cytoplasmic foci named GW bodies (GWBs). GWBs are enriched in proteins that are involved in mRNA degradation. Recent reports have shown that exogenously introduced human Argonaute-2 (Ago2) is also enriched in GWBs, indicating that RNA interference function may be somehow linked to these structures. In this report, we demonstrate that endogenous Ago2 and transfected small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are also present within these same cytoplasmic bodies and that the GW182 protein interacts with Ago2. Disruption of these cytoplasmic foci in HeLa cells interferes with the silencing capability of a siRNA that is specific to lamin-A/C. Our data support a model in which GW182 and/or the microenvironment of the cytoplasmic GWBs contribute to the RNA-induced silencing complex and to RNA silencing.
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            Role of RNase H in hybrid-arrested translation by antisense oligonucleotides.

            The mechanism of hybrid-arrested translation by antisense oligodeoxynucleotides has been investigated with the rabbit reticulocyte lysate system. The oligonucleotides studied were directed against different regions of mouse alpha- or beta-globin mRNAs. Freshly prepared reticulocyte lysates were found to contain 1-2% of the level of RNase H in nucleated cells. This level of activity was sufficient to cleave nearly 100% of the targeted mRNA at the site of hybridization with a complementary oligodeoxynucleotide in 1 hr under conditions of active translation. Using poly(rA).oligo(dT) as a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme, hybrid arrest by oligodeoxynucleotides complementary to the sequence spanning the initiation codon or to a sequence in the coding region was found to be due entirely to cleavage of mRNA by RNase H. Hybridization of oligodeoxynucleotides adjacent to the cap site of beta-globin mRNA, but not the alpha-globin mRNA, also inhibited protein synthesis directly. Even in this case, however, cleavage of the mRNA by RNase H was the predominant pathway of inhibition.
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              Intracellular disposition and metabolism of fluorescently-labeled unmodified and modified oligonucleotides microinjected into mammalian cells.

              The intracellular distribution and metabolism of microinjected fluorescently-labeled oligonucleotides (ODNs) have been evaluated using confocal fluorescence microscopy. Fluorescent phosphodiester ODNs, microinjected into the cytoplasm of mammalian cells, rapidly accumulate within the nucleus; the fluorescence disappears with a half-life of 15-20 minutes. Microinjected fluorescent phosphorothioate ODNs remain in the nucleus for more than 24 hours. The persistence of fluorescence depends on the length of the ODN. Modification of the 3' end of phosphodiester ODNs does not significantly slow the rapid disappearance of fluorescence, although certain 3' modifications localize ODNs into the cytoplasm. Using specially designed ODNs, endonuclease activity is demonstrated to exist in the cytoplasm and nucleus. Modification of the 2' position of the ribose rings of a fluorescent phosphodiester oligodeoxynucleotide with O-methyl or O-allyl does not alter its intracellular distribution; however, the 2'-O-allyl modification stabilizes the persistence of fluorescence more than 60-fold compared to the 2'-deoxy control. Thus, the experiments indicate that somatic cells contain nucleolytic activities which degrade microinjected ODNs; however, chemical modification can dramatically circumvent this process.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nucleic Acids Res
                Nucleic Acids Res
                nar
                nar
                Nucleic Acids Research
                Oxford University Press
                0305-1048
                1362-4962
                January 2010
                January 2010
                23 October 2009
                23 October 2009
                : 38
                : 1
                : e3
                Affiliations
                1Albert Einstein-Montefiore Cancer Center, Montefiore Medical Center, 111 E. 210 St., Bronx, NY 10467, USA, 2Santaris Pharma A/C, Kogle Alle 6, DK-2970, Horsholm, Denmark, 3Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21287 and 4City of Hope National Medical Center, 1450 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010, USA
                Author notes
                *To whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel: +1 718 920 8980; Fax: +1 718 652 4027; Email: cstein@ 123456montefiore.org
                Article
                gkp841
                10.1093/nar/gkp841
                2800216
                19854938
                © The Author(s) 2009. Published by Oxford University Press.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Methods Online

                Genetics

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