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Nucleic Acids Res. 2002 Jul 1;30(13):2751-7.

Antisense properties of tricyclo-DNA.

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  • 1Departement für Chemie und Biochemie der Universität Bern, Freiestrasse 3, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland.


Tricyclo (tc)-DNA belongs to the class of conformationally constrained DNA analogs that show enhanced binding properties to DNA and RNA. We prepared tc-oligonucleotides up to 17 nt in length, and evaluated their binding efficiency and selectivity towards complementary RNA, their biological stability in serum, their RNase H inducing potential and their antisense activity in a cellular assay. Relative to RNA or 2'-O-Me-phosphorothioate (PS)-RNA, fully modified tc-oligodeoxynucleotides, 10-17 nt in length, show enhanced selectivity and enhanced thermal stability by approximately 1 degrees C/modification in binding to RNA targets. Tricyclodeoxyoligonucleotides are completely stable in heat-deactivated fetal calf serum at 37 degree C. Moreover, tc-DNA-RNA duplexes are not substrates for RNase H. To test for antisense effects in vivo, we used HeLa cell lines stably expressing the human beta-globin gene with two different point mutations in the second intron. These mutations lead to the inclusion of an aberrant exon in beta-globin mRNA. Lipofectamine-mediated delivery of a 17mer tc-oligodeoxynucleotide complementary to the 3'-cryptic splice site results in correction of aberrant splicing already at nanomolar concentrations with up to 100-fold enhanced efficiency relative to a 2'-O-Me-PS-RNA oligonucleotide of the same length and sequence. In contrast to 2'-O-Me-PS-RNA, tc-DNA shows antisense activity even in the absence of lipofectamine, albeit only at much higher oligonucleotide concentrations.

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