- A large-scale chemical modification screen identifies design rules to generate siRNAs with high activity, high stability and low toxicity (2009)
- The use of chemically synthesized short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) is currently the method of choice to manipulate gene expression in mammalian cell culture, yet improvements of siRNA design is expectably required for successful application in vivo. Several studies have aimed at improving siRNA performance through the introduction of chemical modifications but a direct comparison of these results is difficult. We have directly compared the effect of 21 types of chemical modifications on siRNA activity and toxicity in a total of 2160 siRNA duplexes. We demonstrate that siRNA activity is primarily enhanced by favouring the incorporation of the intended antisense strand during RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) loading by modulation of siRNA thermodynamic asymmetry and engineering of siRNA 3-overhangs. Collectively, our results provide unique insights into the tolerance for chemical modifications and provide a simple guide to successful chemical modification of siRNAs with improved activity, stability and low toxicity.
- Base-specific spin-labeling of RNA for structure determination (2007)
- To facilitate the measurement of intramolecular distances in solvated RNA systems, a combination of spin-labeling, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation is presented. The fairly rigid spin label 2,2,5,5-tetramethyl-pyrrolin-1-yloxyl-3-acetylene (TPA) was base and site specifically introduced into RNA through a Sonogashira palladium catalyzed crosscoupling on column. For this purpose 5-iodouridine, 5-iodo-cytidine and 2-iodo-adenosine phosphoramidites were synthesized and incorporated into RNA-sequences. Application of the recently developed ACE (R) chemistry presented the main advantage to limit the reduction of the nitroxide to an amine during the oligonucleotide automated synthesis and thus to increase substantially the reliability of the synthesis and the yield of labeled oligonucleotides. 4-Pulse Electron Double Resonance (PELDOR) was then successfully used to measure the intramolecular spin–spin distances in six doubly labeled RNA-duplexes. Comparison of these results with our previous work on DNA showed that A- and B-Form can be differentiated. Using an all-atom force field with explicit solvent, MD simulations gave results in good agreement with the measured distances and indicated that the RNA A-Form was conserved despite a local destabilization effect of the nitroxide label. The applicability of the method to more complex biological systems is discussed.