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PLoS One. 2015 Feb 13;10(2):e0115328. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115328. eCollection 2015.

Stereospecificity of oligonucleotide interactions revisited: no evidence for heterochiral hybridization and ribozyme/DNAzyme activity.

Author information

1
NOXXON Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

A major challenge for the application of RNA- or DNA-oligonucleotides in biotechnology and molecular medicine is their susceptibility to abundant nucleases. One intriguing possibility to tackle this problem is the use of mirror-image (l-)oligonucleotides. For aptamers, this concept has successfully been applied to even develop therapeutic agents, so-called Spiegelmers. However, for technologies depending on RNA/RNA or RNA/DNA hybridization, like antisense or RNA interference, it has not been possible to use mirror-image oligonucleotides because Watson-Crick base pairing of complementary strands is (thought to be) stereospecific. Many scientists consider this a general principle if not a dogma. A recent publication proposing heterochiral Watson-Crick base pairing and sequence-specific hydrolysis of natural RNA by mirror-image ribozymes or DNAzymes (and vice versa) prompted us to systematically revisit the stereospecificity of oligonucleotides hybridization and catalytic activity. Using hyperchromicity measurements we demonstrate that hybridization only occurs among homochiral anti-parallel complementary oligonucleotide strands. As expected, achiral PNA hybridizes to RNA and DNA irrespective of their chirality. In functional assays we could not confirm an alleged heterochiral hydrolytic activity of ribozymes or DNAzymes. Our results confirm a strict stereospecificity of oligonucleotide hybridization and clearly argue against the possibility to use mirror-image oligonucleotides for gene silencing or antisense applications.

PMID:
25679211
PMCID:
PMC4334536
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0115328
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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