TNA Biostability and Protection of DNA and RNA Under Simulated Physiological Conditions

Saturday, February 13, 2016
Michelle Culbertson, Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Nucleic acid polymers have numerous applications in both therapeutics and research to control gene expression and bind biologically relevant targets. However, due to poor biological stability their clinical applications are limited. Chemical modifications can improve both intracellular and extracellular stability and enhance resistance to nuclease degradation. To identify a potential candidate for a reliable synthetic nucleic acid, the biostability of α-L-threofuranosyl nucleic acid, known as TNA, was evaluated under simulated biological conditions. TNA contains a four-carbon sugar and is linked by 2’,3’ phosphodiester bonds. We hypothesized that this distinct chemical structure would yield greater nuclease resistance in human serum and human liver microsomes, which were selected as biologically relevant nuclease conditions. We found that TNA oligonucleotides remained undigested for 7 days in these conditions. In addition, TNA/DNA heteropolymers and TNA/RNA oligonucleotide duplexes displayed nuclease resistance, suggesting that TNA has a protective effect over DNA and RNA. In conclusion TNA demonstrates potential as a viable synthetic nucleic acid for use in numerous clinical and therapeutic applications.