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Nat Biotechnol. 1999 Nov;17(11):1097-100.

Induction of endogenous Bcl-xS through the control of Bcl-x pre-mRNA splicing by antisense oligonucleotides.

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Department of Pharmacology, Isis Pharmaceuticals, Carlsbad, CA 92008, USA.


Resistance to apoptosis, which plays an important role in tumors that are refractory to chemotherapy, is regulated by the ratio of antiapoptotic to proapoptotic proteins. By manipulating levels of these proteins, cells can become sensitized to undergo apoptosis in response to chemotherapeutic agents. Alternative splicing of the bcl-x gene gives rise to two proteins with antagonistic functions: Bcl-xL, a well-characterized antiapoptotic protein, and Bcl-xS, a proapoptotic protein. We show here that altering the ratio of Bcl-xL to Bcl-xS in the cell using an antisense oligonucleotide permitted cells to be sensitized to undergo apoptosis in response to ultraviolet B radiation and chemotherapeutic drug treatment. These results demonstrate the ability of a chemically modified oligonucleotide to alter splice site selection in an endogenous gene and illustrate a powerful tool to regulate cell survival.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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