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Cancer Gene Ther. 2003 Mar;10(3):201-8.

Downregulation of bcl-2 expression in lymphoma cells by bcl-2 ARE-targeted modified, synthetic ribozyme.

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Department of Experimental Pathology and Oncology, University of Florence, Italy.


Synthetic ribozymes are catalytic RNA molecules designed to inhibit gene expression by cleaving specific mRNA sequences. We investigated the potential of synthetic ribozymes to inhibit bcl-2 expression in apoptosis defective bcl-2 overexpressing tumors. A chemically stabilized hammerhead ribozyme has been targeted to the A+U-rich regulative element of bcl-2 mRNA that is involved in bcl-2 gene switch-off during apoptosis. The design of the ribozyme was based on the results of probing accessibility of the RNA target in cellular extracts with antisense DNA. The ribozyme was lipotransfected to a bcl-2 overexpressing human lymphoma cell line (Raji). The cellular uptake of this ribozyme resulted in a marked reduction of both bcl-2 mRNA and BCL-2 protein levels and dramatically increased cellular death by apoptosis. Our results suggest a potential therapeutic application of such ribozyme for the treatment of bcl-2 overexpressing tumors.

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