The crystal structure of an 'All Locked' nucleic acid duplex.
ABSTRACT: 'Locked nucleic acids' (LNAs) are known to introduce enhanced bio- and thermostability into natural nucleic acids rendering them powerful tools for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. We present the 1.9 Å X-ray structure of an 'all LNA' duplex containing exclusively modified ?-D-2'-O-4'C-methylene ribofuranose nucleotides. The helix illustrates a new type of nucleic acid geometry that contributes to the understanding of the enhanced thermostability of LNA duplexes. A notable decrease of several local and overall helical parameters like twist, roll and propeller twist influence the structure of the LNA helix and result in a widening of the major groove, a decrease in helical winding and an enlarged helical pitch. A detailed structural comparison to the previously solved RNA crystal structure with the corresponding base pair sequence underlines the differences in conformation. The surrounding water network of the RNA and the LNA helix shows a similar hydration pattern.
Project description:"Locked nucleic acids" (LNAs) belong to the backbone-modified nucleic acid family. The 2'-O,4'-C-methylene-β-D-ribofuranose nucleotides are used for single or multiple substitutions in RNA molecules and thereby introduce enhanced bio- and thermostability. This renders LNAs powerful tools for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. RNA molecules maintain the overall canonical A-type conformation upon substitution of single or multiple residues/nucleotides by LNA monomers. The structures of "all" LNA homoduplexes, however, exhibit significant differences in their overall geometry, in particular a decreased twist, roll and propeller twist. This results in a widening of the major groove, a decrease in helical winding, and an enlarged helical pitch. Therefore, the LNA duplex structure can no longer be described as a canonical A-type RNA geometry but can rather be brought into proximity to other backbone-modified nucleic acids, like glycol nucleic acids or peptide nucleic acids. LNA-modified nucleic acids provide thus structural and functional features that may be successfully exploited for future application in biotechnology and drug discovery.
Project description:Locked nucleic acid (LNA) oligonucleotides bind DNA target sequences forming Watson-Crick and Hoogsteen base pairs, and are therefore of interest for medical applications. To be biologically active, such an oligonucleotide has to efficiently bind the target sequence. Here we used molecular dynamics simulations and electrophoresis mobility shift assays to elucidate the relation between helical structure and affinity for LNA-containing oligonucleotides. In particular, we have studied how LNA substitutions in the polypyrimidine strand of a duplex (thus forming a hetero duplex, i.e. a duplex with a DNA polypurine strand and an LNA/DNA polypyrimidine strand) enhance triplex formation. Based on seven polypyrimidine single strand oligonucleotides, having LNAs in different positions and quantities, we show that alternating LNA with one or more non-modified DNA nucleotides pre-organizes the hetero duplex toward a triple-helical-like conformation. This in turn promotes triplex formation, while consecutive LNAs distort the duplex structure disfavoring triplex formation. The results support the hypothesis that a pre-organization in the hetero duplex structure enhances the binding of triplex forming oligonucleotides. Our findings may serve as a criterion in the design of new tools for efficient oligonucleotide hybridization.
Project description:We have determined the NMR structure of an intramolecular dsDNA:LNA triplex, where the LNA strand is composed of alternating LNA and DNA nucleotides. The LNA oligonucleotide binds to the dsDNA duplex in the major groove by formation of Hoogsteen hydrogen bonds to the purine strand of the duplex. The structure of the dsDNA duplex is changed to accommodate the LNA strand, and it adopts a geometry intermediate between A- and B-type. There is a substantial propeller twist between base-paired nucleobases. This propeller twist and a concomitant large propeller twist between the purine and LNA strands allows the pyrimidines of the LNA strand to interact with the 5'-flanking duplex pyrimidines. Altogether, the triplex has a regular global geometry as shown by a straight helix axis. This shows that even though the third strand is composed of alternating DNA and LNA monomers with different sugar puckers, it forms a seamless triplex. The thermostability of the triplex is increased by 19 degrees C relative to the unmodified DNA triplex at acidic pH. Using NMR spectroscopy, we show that the dsDNA:LNA triplex is stable at pH 8, and that the triplex structure is identical to the structure determined at pH 5.1.
Project description:Locked nucleic acid (LNA) is a chemically modified nucleic acid with its sugar ring locked in an RNA-like (C3'-endo) conformation. LNAs show extraordinary thermal stabilities when hybridized with DNA, RNA or LNA itself. We performed molecular dynamics simulations on five isosequential duplexes (LNA-DNA, LNA-LNA, LNA-RNA, RNA-DNA and RNA-RNA) in order to characterize their structure, dynamics and hydration. Structurally, the LNA-DNA and LNA-RNA duplexes are found to be similar to regular RNA-DNA and RNA-RNA duplexes, whereas the LNA-LNA duplex is found to have its helix partly unwound and does not resemble RNA-RNA duplex in a number of properties. Duplexes with an LNA strand have on average longer interstrand phosphate distances compared to RNA-DNA and RNA-RNA duplexes. Furthermore, intrastrand phosphate distances in LNA strands are found to be shorter than in DNA and slightly shorter than in RNA. In case of induced sugar puckering, LNA is found to tune the sugar puckers in partner DNA strand toward C3'-endo conformations more efficiently than RNA. The LNA-LNA duplex has lesser backbone flexibility compared to the RNA-RNA duplex. Finally, LNA is less hydrated compared to DNA or RNA but is found to have a well-organized water structure.
Project description:Locked Nucleic Acids (LNAs) are RNA analogues with an O2'-C4' methylene bridge which locks the sugar into a C3'-endo conformation. This enhances hybridization to DNA and RNA, making LNAs useful in microarrays and potential therapeutics. Here, the LNA, L(CAAU), provides a simplified benchmark for testing the ability of molecular dynamics (MD) to approximate nucleic acid properties. LNA ? torsions and partial charges were parametrized to create AMBER parm99_LNA. The revisions were tested by comparing MD predictions with AMBER parm99 and parm99_LNA against a 200 ms NOESY NMR spectrum of L(CAAU). NMR indicates an A-Form equilibrium ensemble. In 3000 ns simulations starting with an A-form structure, parm99_LNA and parm99 provide 66% and 35% agreement, respectively, with NMR NOE volumes and (3)J-couplings. In simulations of L(CAAU) starting with all ? torsions in a syn conformation, only parm99_LNA is able to repair the structure. This implies methods for parametrizing force fields for nucleic acid mimics can reasonably approximate key interactions and that parm99_LNA will improve reliability of MD studies for systems with LNA. A method for approximating ? population distribution on the basis of base to sugar NOEs is also introduced.
Project description:We have determined the NMR solution structures of the quadruplexes formed by d(TGLGLT) and d(TL4T), where L denotes LNA (locked nucleic acid) modified G-residues. Both structures are tetrameric, parallel and right-handed and the native global fold of the corresponding DNA quadruplex is retained upon introduction of the LNA nucleotides. However, local structural alterations are observed owing to the locked LNA sugars. In particular, a distinct change in the sugar-phosphate backbone is observed at the G2pL3 and L2pL3 base steps and sequence dependent changes in the twist between tetrads are also seen. Both the LNA modified quadruplexes have raised thermostability as compared to the DNA quadruplex. The quadruplex-forming capability of d(TGLGLT) is of particular interest as it expands the design flexibility for stable parallel LNA quadruplexes and shows that LNA nucleotides can be mixed with DNA or other modified nucleic acids. As such, LNA-based quadruplexes can be decorated by a variety of chemical modifications. Such LNA quadruplex scaffolds might find applications in the developing field of nanobiotechnology.
Project description:Despite progress with triplex-forming oligonucleotides or helix-invading peptide nucleic acids (PNAs), there remains a need for probes facilitating sequence-unrestricted targeting of double stranded DNA (dsDNA) at physiologically relevant conditions. Invader LNA probes, i.e., DNA duplexes with "+1 interstrand zipper arrangements" of intercalator-functionalized 2'-amino-alpha-l-LNA monomers, are demonstrated herein to recognize short mixed sequence dsDNA targets. This approach, like pseudo-complementary PNA (pcPNA), relies on relative differences in stability between probe duplexes and the corresponding probe:target duplexes for generation of a favourable thermodynamic gradient. Unlike pcPNA, Invader LNA probes take advantage of the "nearest neighbour exclusion principle", i.e., intercalating units of Invader LNA monomers are poorly accommodated in probe duplexes but extraordinarily well tolerated in probe-target duplexes (DeltaT(m)/modification up to +11.5 degrees C). Recognition of isosequential dsDNA-targets occurs: a) at experimental temperatures much lower than the thermal denaturation temperatures (T(m)'s) of Invader LNAs or dsDNA-targets, b) at a wide range of ionic strengths, and c) with good mismatch discrimination. Recognition of dsDNA is monitored in real-time using inherent pyrene-pyrene excimer signals of Invader LNA probes, which provides insights into reaction kinetics and enables rational design of probes. These properties render Invader LNAs as promising probes for biomedical applications entailing sequence-unrestricted recognition of dsDNA.
Project description:Locked nucleic acids (LNA; symbols of bases, +A, +C, +G, and +T) are introduced into chemically synthesized oligonucleotides to increase duplex stability and specificity. To understand these effects, we have determined thermodynamic parameters of consecutive LNA nucleotides. We present guidelines for the design of LNA oligonucleotides and introduce free online software that predicts the stability of any LNA duplex oligomer. Thermodynamic analysis shows that the single strand-duplex transition is characterized by a favorable enthalpic change and by an unfavorable loss of entropy. A single LNA modification confines the local conformation of nucleotides, causing a smaller, less unfavorable entropic loss when the single strand is restricted to the rigid duplex structure. Additional LNAs adjacent to the initial modification appear to enhance stacking and H-bonding interactions because they increase the enthalpic contributions to duplex stabilization. New nearest-neighbor parameters correctly forecast the positive and negative effects of LNAs on mismatch discrimination. Specificity is enhanced in a majority of sequences and is dependent on mismatch type and adjacent base pairs; the largest discriminatory boost occurs for the central +C·C mismatch within the +T+C+C sequence and the +A·G mismatch within the +T+A+G sequence. LNAs do not affect specificity in some sequences and even impair it for many +G·T and +C·A mismatches. The level of mismatch discrimination decreases the most for the central +G·T mismatch within the +G+G+C sequence and the +C·A mismatch within the +G+C+G sequence. We hypothesize that these discrimination changes are not unique features of LNAs but originate from the shift of the duplex conformation from B-form to A-form.
Project description:The anti-gene strategy is based on sequence-specific recognition of double-strand DNA by triplex forming (TFOs) or DNA strand invading oligonucleotides to modulate gene expression. To be efficient, the oligonucleotides (ONs) should target DNA selectively, with high affinity. Here we combined hybridization analysis and electrophoretic mobility shift assay with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to better understand the underlying structural features of modified ONs in stabilizing duplex- and triplex structures. Particularly, we investigated the role played by the position and number of locked nucleic acid (LNA) substitutions in the ON when targeting a c-MYC or FXN (Frataxin) sequence. We found that LNA-containing single strand TFOs are conformationally pre-organized for major groove binding. Reduced content of LNA at consecutive positions at the 3'-end of a TFO destabilizes the triplex structure, whereas the presence of Twisted Intercalating Nucleic Acid (TINA) at the 3'-end of the TFO increases the rate and extent of triplex formation. A triplex-specific intercalating benzoquinoquinoxaline (BQQ) compound highly stabilizes LNA-containing triplex structures. Moreover, LNA-substitution in the duplex pyrimidine strand alters the double helix structure, affecting x-displacement, slide and twist favoring triplex formation through enhanced TFO major groove accommodation. Collectively, these findings should facilitate the design of potent anti-gene ONs.
Project description:The challenge of understanding the widespread biological roles of animal microRNAs (miRNAs) has prompted the development of genetic and functional genomics technologies for miRNA loss-of-function studies. However, tools for exploring the functions of entire miRNA families are still limited. We developed a method that enables antagonism of miRNA function using seed-targeting 8-mer locked nucleic acid (LNA) oligonucleotides, termed tiny LNAs. Transfection of tiny LNAs into cells resulted in simultaneous inhibition of miRNAs within families sharing the same seed with concomitant upregulation of direct targets. In addition, systemically delivered, unconjugated tiny LNAs showed uptake in many normal tissues and in breast tumors in mice, coinciding with long-term miRNA silencing. Transcriptional and proteomic profiling suggested that tiny LNAs have negligible off-target effects, not significantly altering the output from mRNAs with perfect tiny LNA complementary sites. Considered together, these data support the utility of tiny LNAs in elucidating the functions of miRNA families in vivo.