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Locked nucleic acids (LNAs) are synthetic analogs of nucleic acids that contain a bridging methylene carbon between the 2' and 4' positions of the ribose ring. In this study, we generated a novel sequence-specific antigene molecule "Zorro LNA", which simultaneously binds to both strands, and that induced effective and specific strand invasion into DNA duplexes and potent inhibition of gene transcription, also in a cellular context. By comparing the Zorro LNA with linear LNA as well as an optimized bisPNA (peptide nucleic acid) oligonucleotide directed against the same target sites, respectively, we found that the Zorro LNA construct was unique in its ability to arrest gene transcription in mammalian cells. To our knowledge, this is the first time that in mammalian cells, gene transcription was blocked by a nucleic acid analog in a sequence-specific way using low but saturated binding of a blocking agent. This offers a novel type of antigene drug that is easy to synthesize.
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