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Sequence-specific RNase H cleavage of gag mRNA from HIV-1 infected cells by an antisense oligonucleotide in vitro

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Gareth Veal



We have used a ribonuclease protection assay to investigate RNase H cleavage of HIV-1 mRNA mediated by phosphorothioate antisense oligonucleotides complementary to the gag region of the HIV-1 genome in vitro. Cell lysate experiments in H9 and U937 cells chronically infected with HIV-1 IIIB showed RNase H cleavage of unspliced gag message but no cleavage of spliced message which did not contain the target gag region. RNase H cleavage products were detected at oligonucleotide concentrations as low as 0.01 μM and the RNase H activity was seen to be concentration dependent. Similar experiments with 1-, 3- and 5-mismatch oligonudeotides demonstrated sequence specificity at low concentrations, with cleavage of gag mRNA correlating with the predicted activities of the parent and mismatch oligonucleotides based on their hybridization melting temperatures. Experiments in living cells suggested that RNase H-specific antisense activity was largely determined by the amount of oligonucleotide taken up by the different cell lines studied. RNase H cleavage products were detected in antisense oligonucleotide treated MT-4 cells acutely infected with HIV-1 IIIB, but not in infected H9 cells treated with oligonucleotide under the same conditions. The data presented demonstrate potent and specific RNase H cleavage of HIV-1 mRNA mediated by an antisense oligonucleotide targeted to HIV-1 gag mRNA, and are in agreement with previous reports that the major obstacle to demonstrating antisense activity in living cells remains the lack of penetration of these agents into the desired cellular compartment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Veal, G.J., Agrawal, S., Byrn, R.

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nucleic Acids Research

Year: 1998

Volume: 26

Issue: 24

Pages: 5670-5675

Print publication date: 15/12/1998

Date deposited: 09/02/2012

ISSN (print): 0305-1048

ISSN (electronic): 1362-4962


DOI: 10.1093/nar/26.24.5670

PubMed id: 9837998


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