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Nucleic Acids Res. Sep 11, 1995; 23(17): 3578–3584.
PMCID: PMC307240

Design, biochemical, biophysical and biological properties of cooperative antisense oligonucleotides.


Short oligonucleotides that can bind to adjacent sites on target mRNA sequences are designed and evaluated for their binding affinity and biological activity. Sequence-specific binding of short tandem oligonucleotides is compared with a full-length single oligonucleotide (21mer) that binds to the same target sequence. Two short oligonucleotides that bind without a base separation between their binding sites on the target bind cooperatively, while oligonucleotides that have a one or two base separation between the binding oligonucleotides do not. The binding affinity of the tandem oligonucleotides is improved by extending the ends of the two oligonucleotides with complementary sequences. These extended sequences form a duplex stem when both oligonucleotides bind to the target, resulting in a stable ternary complex. RNase H studies reveal that the cooperative oligonucleotides bind to the target RNA with sequence specificity. A short oligonucleotide (9mer) with one or two mismatches does not bind at the intended site, while longer oligonucleotides (21mers) with one or two mismatches still bind to the same site, as does a perfectly matched 21mer, and evoke RNase H activity. HIV-1 inhibition studies reveal an increase in activity of the cooperative oligonucleotide combinations as the length of the dimerization domain increases.

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Selected References

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