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Nat Genet. 1998 Oct;20(2):212-4.

Targeted gene knockout mediated by triple helix forming oligonucleotides.

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National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, Maryland 21224-6825, USA.


Triple helix forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) recognize and bind sequences in duplex DNA and have received considerable attention because of their potential for targeting specific genomic sites. TFOs can deliver DNA reactive reagents to specific sequences in purified chromosomal DNA (ref. 4) and nuclei. However, chromosome targeting in viable cells has not been demonstrated, and in vitro experiments indicate that chromatin structure is incompatible with triplex formation. We have prepared modified TFOs, linked to the DNA-crosslinking reagent psoralen, directed at a site in the Hprt gene. We show that stable Hprt-deficient clones can be recovered following introduction of the TFOs into viable cells and photoactivation of the psoralen. Analysis of 282 clones indicated that 85% contained mutations in the triplex target region. We observed mainly deletions and some insertions. These data indicate that appropriately constructed TFOs can find chromosomal targets, and suggest that the chromatin structure in the target region is more dynamic than predicted by the in vitro experiments.

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