Geny S, Moreno PM, Krzywkowski T, Gissberg O, Andersen NK, Isse AJ, El-Madani AM, Lou C, Pabon YV, Anderson BA, Zaghloul EM, Zain R, Hrdlicka PJ, Jørgensen PT, Nilsson M, Lundin KE, Pedersen EB, Wengel J, Smith CI
Nucleic Acids Res. 44 (5) 2007-2019 [2016-03-18; online 2016-02-08]
Targeting and invading double-stranded DNA with synthetic oligonucleotides under physiological conditions remain a challenge. Bis-locked nucleic acids (bisLNAs) are clamp-forming oligonucleotides able to invade into supercoiled DNA via combined Hoogsteen and Watson-Crick binding. To improve the bisLNA design, we investigated its mechanism of binding. Our results suggest that bisLNAs bind via Hoogsteen-arm first, followed by Watson-Crick arm invasion, initiated at the tail. Based on this proposed hybridization mechanism, we designed next-generation bisLNAs with a novel linker able to stack to adjacent nucleobases, a new strategy previously not applied for any type of clamp-constructs. Although the Hoogsteen-arm limits the invasion, upon incorporation of the stacking linker, bisLNA invasion is significantly more efficient than for non-clamp, or nucleotide-linker containing LNA-constructs. Further improvements were obtained by substituting LNA with 2'-glycylamino-LNA, contributing a positive charge. For regular bisLNAs a 14-nt tail significantly enhances invasion. However, when two stacking linkers were incorporated, tail-less bisLNAs were able to efficiently invade. Finally, successful targeting of plasmids inside bacteria clearly demonstrates that strand invasion can take place in a biologically relevant context.