REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0322.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biology And Biotechnology Keywords: antisense oligonucleotides; antisense therapy; DNA insecticides; RNAi; medicine; agriculture; forestry
Online: 25 April 2018 (06:10:24 CEST)
Antisense oligonucleotides (ASO), short single-stranded polymers (based on DNA or RNA chemistries) synthesized in vitro, regulate gene expression by binding in a sequence-specific manner to a RNA target. The functional activity and selectivity in the action of ASOs largely depends on the combination of nitrogenous bases in a target sequence. This simple and natural property of nucleic acids provides an attractive route by which scientists can create different ASO-based techniques. Over the last 50 years, planned and realized applications in the field of antisense technologies have produced astonishing results and posed new challenges for further developments, exemplifying the essence of the post-genomic era. This mini-review critically analyzes some successful cases using the antisense approach in medicine to address severe diseases, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy, and suggests some prospective directions for future research. We also examine in detail the elaboration of insect-specific DNA insecticides and RNA preparations in the areas of agriculture and forestry, a relatively new branch of ASO that allows circumvention of the use of non-selective chemical insecticides. When considering the variety of successful ASO modifications with an efficient signal-to-noise ratio of action, coupled with the affordability of in vitro oligonucleotide synthesis and post-synthesis procedures, we predict that the next half-century will produce a fruitful yield of tools created from effective ASO-based end products.