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Conformationally Constrained Oligonucleotides for RNA Targeting
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemical Biology. (Prof. Jyoti chattopadhyaya)
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A short oligonucleotide sequence as in a single-stranded antisense oligo nucleotides (AON) or in double-stranded small interfering RNAs (siRNA) can modulate the gene expression by targeting against the cellular mRNA, which can be potentially exploited for therapeutic purposes in the treatment of different diseases. In order to improve the efficacy of oligonucleotide-based drugs, the problem of target affinity, nuclease stability and delivery needs to be addressed. Chemical modifications of oligonucleotides have been proved to be an effective strategy to counter some of these problems.

In this thesis, chemical synthesis of conformationally constrained nucleosides such as 7′-Me-carba-LNA-A, -G, -MeC and -T as well as 6′, 7′-substituted α-L-carba-LNA-T (Papers I-III) was achieved through a key free-radical cyclization. 1D and 2D NMR techniques were employed to prove the formation of bicyclic ring system by free-radical ring closure as well as to identify the specific constrained conformations in sugar moieties. These sugar-locked nucleosides were transformed to the corresponding phosphoramidites and incorporated into antisense oligonucleotides in different sequences, to evaluate their physicochemical and biochemical properties for potential antisense-based therapeutic application.

AONs modified with 7′-Me-carba-LNA analogues exhibited higher RNA affinities (plus 1-4°C/modification) (Papers I & III), but AONs containing α-L-carba-LNA analogues showed decreased affinities (minus 2-3°C/ modification) (Paper II) towards complementary RNA compared to the native counterpart.  It has been demonstrated in Papers I-III that 7′-methyl substitution in α-L-carba-LNA caused the Tm drop due to a steric clash of the R-configured methyl group in the major groove of the duplex, whereas 7′-methyl group of carba-LNA locating in the minor groove of the duplex exerted no obviously negative effect on Tms, regardless of its orientation. Moreover, AONs containing 7′-Me-carba-LNA and α-L-carba-LNA derivatives were found to be nucleolytically more stable than native AONs, LNA modified AONs as well as α-L-LNA modified ones (Papers I-III). We also found in Paper II & III that the orientations of OH group in C6′ of α-L-carba-LNAs and methyl group in C7′ of 7′-Me-carba-LNAs can significantly influence the nuclease stabilities of modified AONs. It was proved that the methyl substitution in cLNAs which points towards the vicinal 3′-phosphate were more resistant to nuclease degradation than that caused by the methyl group pointing away from 3′-phosphate.

Additionally, AONs modified with 7′-Me-carba-LNAs and α-L-carba-LNAs were found to elicit the RNase H mediated RNA degradation with comparable or higher rates (from 2-fold to 8-fold higher dependent upon the modification sites) as compared to the native counterpart. We also found that the cleavage patterns and rates by E. coli RNase H1 were highly dependent upon the modification sites in the AON sequences, regardless of the structural features of modifications (Papers II & III). Furthermore, we have shown that the modulations of Tms of AON/RNA duplexes are directly correlated with the aqueous solvation (Paper III).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. , 66 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 948
Keyword [en]
conformationally constrained nucleoside, antisense oligonucleotide, RNA affinity, nuclease stability, RNase H, RNA degradation
National Category
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Organic Chemistry
Research subject
Chemistry with specialization in Bioorganic Chemistry
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-179069ISBN: 978-91-554-8414-9 (print)OAI: diva2:543276
Public defence
2012-09-22, B7:101a, BMC, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2012-08-30 Created: 2012-08-07 Last updated: 2013-01-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Carba-LNA-5MeC/A/G/T Modified Oligos Show Nucleobase-Specific Modulation of 3′-Exonuclease Activity, Thermodynamic Stability, RNA Selectivity, and RNase H Elicitation: Synthesis and Biochemistry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Carba-LNA-5MeC/A/G/T Modified Oligos Show Nucleobase-Specific Modulation of 3′-Exonuclease Activity, Thermodynamic Stability, RNA Selectivity, and RNase H Elicitation: Synthesis and Biochemistry
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2011 (English)In: Journal of Organic Chemistry, ISSN 0022-3263, E-ISSN 1520-6904, Vol. 76, no 11, 4408-4431 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Using the intramolecular 5-exo-5-hexenyl radical as a key cyclization step, we previously reported an unambiguous synthesis of carba-LNA thymine (cLNA-T), which we subsequently incorporated in antisense oligonudeotides (AON) and investigated their biochemical properties [J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129 (26), 8362-8379]. These cLNA-T incorporated oligos showed specific RNA affinity of +3.5-5 degrees C/modification for AON:RNA heteroduplexes, which is comparable to what is found for those of LNAs (Locked Nucleic Acids). These modified oligos however showed significantly enhanced nuclease stability (ca. 100 times more) in the blood serum compared to those of the LNA modified counterparts without compromising any RNase H recruitment capability. We herein report the synthesis of 5-methylcytosine-1-yl (C-Me), 9-adeninyl (A), and 9-guaninyl (G) derivatives of cLNA and their oligonucleotides and report their biochemical properties as potential RNA-directed inhibitors. In a series of isosequential carba-LNA modified AONs, we herein show that all the cLNA modified AONs are found to be RNA-selective, but the magnitude of RNA-selectivity of 7'-R-Me-cLNA-G (cLNA-G) (Delta T-m = 2.9 degrees C/modification) and intractable isomeric mixtures of 7'-(S/R)-Me-cLNA-T (cLNA-T, Delta T-m = 2.2 degrees C/modification) was found to be better than diastereomeric mixtures of 7'-(S/R)-Me-cLNA-C-Me with trace of cENA-C-Me (cLNA-C-Me, Delta T-m = 1.8 degrees C/modification) and 7'-R-Me-cLNA-A (cLNA-A, Delta T-m = 0.9 degrees C/modification). cLNA-C-Me modified AONs however exhibited the best nuclease stability, which is 4-, 7-, and 20-fold better, respectively, than cLNA-T, cLNA-A, and cLNA-G modified counterparts, which in turn was more than 100 times stable than that of the native. When the modification sites are appropriately chosen in the AONs, the cLNA-A, -G, and -C-Me modified sites in the AON:RNA hybrids can be easily recognized by RNase H, and the RNA strand of the hybrid is degraded in a specific manner, which is important for the design of oligos for therapeutic purposes. The cLNA-C-Me modified AON/RNA, however, has been found to be degraded 4 times faster than cLNA-A and G modified counterparts. By appropriately choosing the carba-LNA modification sites in AON strands, the digestion of AON:RNA can be either totally repressed or be limited to cleavage at specific sites or at a single site only (similar to that of catalytic RNAzyme or DNAzyme). Considering all physico- and biochemical aspects of cLNA modified oligos, the work suggests that the cLNA modified antisense oligos have the potential of being a promising therapeutic candidate due to their (i) higher nucleobase-specific RNA affinity and RNA selectivity, (ii) greatly improved nuclease stability, and (iii) efficient RNase H recruitment capability, which can induce target RNA cleavage in a very specific manner at multiple or at a single site, in a designed manner.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-155235 (URN)10.1021/jo200073q (DOI)000291128300009 ()
Available from: 2011-06-21 Created: 2011-06-20 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
2. Free-Radical Ring Closure to Conformationally Locked α-l-Carba-LNAs and Synthesis of Their Oligos:: Nuclease Stability, Target RNA Specificity, and Elicitation of RNase H
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Free-Radical Ring Closure to Conformationally Locked α-l-Carba-LNAs and Synthesis of Their Oligos:: Nuclease Stability, Target RNA Specificity, and Elicitation of RNase H
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2010 (English)In: Journal of Organic Chemistry, ISSN 0022-3263, E-ISSN 1520-6904, Vol. 75, no 18, 6122-6140 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A new class of conformationally constrained nucleosides, α-L-ribo-carbocyclic LNA thymidine (α-L-carba-LNA-T, LNA is an abbreviation of locked nucleic acid) analogues and a novel "double-locked" α-L-ribo-configured tetracyclic thymidine (6,7'-methylene-bridged-α-L-carba-LNA-T) in which both the sugar puckering and glycosidic torsion are simultaneously constrained, have been synthesized through a key step involving 5-exo free-radical intramolecular cyclization. These α-L-carba-LNA analogues have been subsequently transformed to corresponding phosphoramidites and incorporated into isosequential antisense oligonucleotides (AONs), which have then been examined for the thermal denaturation of their duplexes, nuclease stability, and RNase H recruitment capabilities. Introduction of a single 6',7'-substituted α-L-carba-LNA-T modification in the AON strand of AON/RNA heteroduplex led to T(m) reduction by 2-3 °C as compared to the native heteroduplex, whereas the parent 2'-oxa-α-L-LNA-T modification at the identical position in the AON strand has been found to lead to an increase in the T(m) by 3-5 °C. This suggests that the 6' and 7' substitutions lead to much reduced thermal stability for the modified heteroduplex, especially the hydrophobic 7'-methyl on α-L-carba-LNA, which is located in the major groove of the duplex. All of the AONs incorporating 6',7'-substituted α-L-carba-LNA-T have, however, showed considerably improved nuclease stability toward 3'-exonuclease (SVPDE) and in human blood serum compared to the 2'-oxa-α-L-LNA-T incorporated AONs. The hybrid duplexes that are formed by 6',7'-substituted α-L-carba-LNA-T-modified AONs with complementary RNA have been found to recruit RNase H with higher efficiency than those of the β-D-LNA-T or β-D-carba-LNA-T-modified counterparts. These greatly improved nuclease resistances and efficient RNase H recruitment capabilities elevate the α-L-carba-LNA-modified nucleotides into a new class of locked nucleic acids for potential RNA targeting therapeutics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
U. S. A: American Chemical Society (ACS), 2010
conformationally constrained nucleoside, free-radical intramolecular cyclization, antisense oligonucleotide, RNA target therapeutic
National Category
Organic Chemistry
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-176562 (URN)10.1021/jo100900v (DOI)
Available from: 2012-06-20 Created: 2012-06-20 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. The Physicochemical Properties of DNA-RNA Duplexes Containing Pure 7′R-Me- or 7′S-Me-Carba-LNA Derivatives of A, G, 5-MeC or T in the DNA Strand: Diastereomer Specific Comparison of The 3′-Exonuclease Stability and RNase H Elicitation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Physicochemical Properties of DNA-RNA Duplexes Containing Pure 7′R-Me- or 7′S-Me-Carba-LNA Derivatives of A, G, 5-MeC or T in the DNA Strand: Diastereomer Specific Comparison of The 3′-Exonuclease Stability and RNase H Elicitation
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(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

   Recently, the intramolecular 5-exo-5-hexenyl free-radical cyclization gave access to 2′, 4′-locked carba-LNAs with different nucleobase moieties, i.e. 7′S- and 7′R-Me-cLNA-A, -G, -MeC and -T nucleosides (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 8362-8379; J. Org. Chem. 2011, 76, 4408-4431). In these studies, diastereomeric mixtures of 7′S/R-Me-cLNA-MeC and -T and diastereomerically pure 7′R-Me-cLNA-A and -G have been incorporated into antisense oligonucleotides (AONs) for biological evaluations. These cLNA modified oligos have shown to have comparable RNA affinity and highly improved nuclease and blood serum stabilities relative to that of their LNA modified counterparts. In order to fully understand the spatial effect of diastereomeric orientation of 7′-methyl group in cLNA-A/G/MeC/T on the RNA affinity, nuclease stability and RNase H elicitation efficiency, we have synthesized and preparatively HPLC separated and tested each of the 7′S- (minor) and 7′R- (major) pure diastereomer of 7′S/R-Me-cLNA-A/G/MeC/T nucleosides. Incorporation into oligos of each pure diastereomer of cLNA led to higher RNA affinity (1-4°C/mod).  Tm increase was found to be dependent both on the modification site in the AON as well as whether it is 7′S or 7′R modified cLNA is incorporated. RNA selectivity (DDTm) was found to be in the range of 3.1-6.7°C compared to DDTm of 2.7°C for the native counterpart. The Tm variations modulated by 7′S- and 7′R-Me-cLNAs in the AON have been found to be sequence and position-dependent. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of DNA-RNA duplexes with AON2 and AON5, with pure diastereomer incorporated at the 7th position of the AON strand from 3′-end, revealed that both 7′S- and 7′R-Me-cLNA-A modifications have only small local effect on stacking and hydrogen bonding within the duplexes, with Watson-Crick base-pairing remained intact during 98-100% duration of the MD simulations. It has been however found that the Tm of each of the modified heteroduplex is dictated by the individual solvation energy (CPCM) of the 7′S- or 7′R-Me-cLNA diastereomer of A, G, MeC or T nucleobase. This demonstrates that the major factor behind variation in the thermal stabilities of the 7′R- or 7′S-Me-cLNA modified AON-RNA duplexes lies in the intrinsic hydrophobicity, hence its relative solvation energy, inherent in the 7′R- vis-a-vis 7′S-Me-cLNA modified monomer blocks, compared to those of the native and LNA counterparts. We have also found that AONs containing 7′S- and 7′R-Me-cLNA-MeC modifications exhibited unprecedented nuclease stabilities: the most stable AON is the one that contains 7′S-Me-cLNA-MeC, which is ~40 times more stable towards 3′-exonuclease (SVPDE) than 7′S- and 7′R-Me-cLNA-T modified AONs, which was in turn much more stable than 7′S- and 7′R-Me-cLNA-A and G modified counterparts. It is noteworthy that 7′S-methyl group of cLNAs endows the AON strand with more nuclease stability than that of 7′R configured counterpart when compared within the same nucleobase. Thus the carba-LNA modified AONs show nucleobase-dependent activity in the following order: MeC > T > A > G, regardless of 7′S- or 7′R-configurations in the carba-LNA. All of the cLNA and LNA modified AON/RNA hybrids can elicit RNase H activity with similar or even more enhanced rates of digestion by E. coli RNase H1 compared to that of the native AON/RNA. The cleavage rates and patterns of modified AON/RNA hybrids by E. coli RNase H1 are only correlated with the modification site in AON sequence of AON/RNA hybrids, but irrelevant to the structural features of incorporated modifications.

National Category
Organic Chemistry
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-179066 (URN)
Available from: 2012-08-07 Created: 2012-08-07 Last updated: 2015-05-19Bibliographically approved

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