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Oligonucleotides. 2008 Jun;18(2):187-200. doi: 10.1089/oli.2008.0123.

Chemical modification patterns compatible with high potency dicer-substrate small interfering RNAs.

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  • 1Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc 1710 Commercial Park, Coralville, IA 52241, USA.


Dicer-substrate small interfering RNAs (DsiRNAs) are synthetic RNA duplexes that are processed by Dicer into 21-mer species and show improved potency as triggers of RNA interference, particularly when used at low dose. Chemical modification patterns that are compatible with high potency 21-mer small interfering RNAs have been reported by several groups. However, modification patterns have not been studied for Dicer-substrate duplexes. We therefore synthesized a series of chemically modified 27-mer DsiRNAs and correlated modification patterns with functional potency. Some modification patterns profoundly reduced function although other patterns maintained high potency. Effects of sequence context were observed, where the relative potency of modification patterns varied between sites. A modification pattern involving alternating 2'-O-methyl RNA bases was developed that generally retains high potency when tested in different sites in different genes, evades activation of the innate immune system, and improves stability in serum.

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