Oligonucleotides and their derivatives are a proven chemical strategy for modulating gene expression. However, their negative charge remains a challenge for delivery and target recognition inside cells. Here we show that oligonucleotide-oligospermine conjugates (Zip nucleic acids or ZNAs) can help overcome these shortcomings by serving as effective antisense and antigene agents. Conjugates containing DNA and locked nucleic acid (LNA) oligonucleotides are active, and oligospermine conjugation facilitates carrier-free cell uptake at nanomolar concentrations. Conjugates targeting the CAG triplet repeat within huntingtin (HTT) mRNA selectively inhibit expression of the mutant huntingtin protein. Conjugates targeting the promoter of the progesterone receptor (PR) function as antigene agents to block PR expression. These observations support further investigation of ZNA conjugates as gene silencing agents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry