Controlling Gene Expression with 2-5A Antisense

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Recent work has demonstrated that the activity of a ubiquitous cellular enzyme, ribonuclease L (RNase L), can be harnessed to cleave targeted RNA species. Activation of RNase L is dependent on the presence of 2′,5′-linked oligoadenylates (2-5A), usually produced by cells infected with viruses. By conjugating synthetic 2-5A to specific antisense compounds, it is now possible to selectively degrade RNAs in an RNase L-dependent manner, thereby providing an alternative to RNase H-dependent approaches. In this summary, we provide an updated description of the synthesis procedure for constructing these chimeric 2-5A antisense molecules. Examples of successful applications of the 2-5A antisense strategy are described, along with some of the procedures involved in those studies. Several methods are also provided for optimizing compound uptake and analyzing their effects on cells. Finally, we discuss the current body of evidence that supports the contention that RNase L is indeed the primary mediator of 2-5A antisense effects and the possible implications that this has on the future of this therapeutic approach.



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