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Nucleic Acids Res. 1996 Apr 15;24(8):1508-14.

Oligonucleotide N3'-->P5' phosphoramidates as antisense agents.

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Lynx Therapeutics, Inc., Hayward, CA 94545, USA.


Uniformly modified oligonucleotide N3'-->P5' phosphoramidates, where every 3'-oxygen is replaced by a 3'-amino group, were synthesized. These compounds have very high affinity to single-stranded RNAs and thus have potential utility as antisense agents. As was shown in this study, the oligonucleotide phosphoramidates are resistant to digestion with snake venom phosphodiesterase, to nuclease activity in a HeLa cell nuclear extract, or to nuclease activity in 50% human plasma, where no significant hydrolysis was observed after 8 h. These compounds were used in various in vitro cellular systems as antisense compounds addressed to different targeted regions of c-myb, c-myc and bcr-abl mRNAs. C-myb antisense phosphoramidates at 5 microM caused sequence and dose-dependent inhibition of HL-60 cell proliferation and a 75% reduction in c-myb protein and RNA levels, as determined by Western blot and RT-PCR analysis. Analogous results were observed for anti-c-myc phosphoramidates, where a complete cytostatic effect for HL-60 cells was observed at 1 microM concentration for fully complementary, but not for mismatched compounds, which were indistinguishable from untreated controls. This was correlated with a 93% reduction in c-myc protein level. Moreover, colony formation by the primary CML cells was also inhibited 75-95% and up to 99% by anti-c-myc and anti-bcr-abl phosphoramidate oligonucleotides, respectively, in a sequence- and dose-dependent manner within a 0.5 nM-5 microM dose range. At these concentrations the colony-forming ability of normal bone marrow cells was not affected. The presented in vitro data indicate that oligonucleotide N3'-->P5' phosphoramidates could be used as specific and efficient antisense agents.

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