Indexed on: 08 May '08Published on: 08 May '08Published in: Biochimie
Molecules that interact with DNA in a sequence-specific manner are attractive tools for manipulating gene sequence and expression. For example, triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs), which bind to oligopyrimidine.oligopurine sequences via Hoogsteen hydrogen bonds, have been used to inhibit gene expression at the DNA level as well as to induce targeted mutagenesis in model systems. Recent advances in using oligonucleotides and analogs to target DNA in a sequence-specific manner will be discussed. In particular, chemical modification of TFOs has been used to improve binding to chromosomal target sequences in living cells. Various oligonucleotide analogs have also been found to expand the range of sequences amenable to manipulation, including so-called "Zorro" locked nucleic acids (LNAs) and pseudo-complementary peptide nucleic acids (pcPNAs). Finally, we will examine the potential of TFOs for directing targeted gene sequence modification and propose that synthetic nucleases, based on conjugation of sequence-specific DNA ligands to DNA damaging molecules, are a promising alternative to protein-based endonucleases for targeted gene sequence modification.