Efficient production of superior dumbbell-shaped DNA minimal vectors for small hairpin RNA expression.
ABSTRACT: Genetic therapy holds great promise for the treatment of inherited or acquired genetic diseases; however, its breakthrough is hampered by the lack of suitable gene delivery systems. Dumbbell-shaped DNA minimal vectors represent an attractive, safe alternative to the commonly used viral vectors which are fraught with risk, but dumbbell generation appears to be costly and time-consuming. We developed a new PCR-based method for dumbbell production which comprises only two steps. First, PCR amplification of the therapeutic expression cassette using chemically modified primers to form a ready-to-ligate DNA structure; and second, a highly efficient intramolecular ligation reaction. Compared with conventional strategies, the new method produces dumbbell vectors more rapidly, with higher yields and purity, and at lower costs. In addition, such produced small hairpin RNA expressing dumbbells triggered superior target gene knockdown compared with conventionally produced dumbbells or plasmids. Our novel method is suitable for large-scale dumbbell production and can facilitate clinical applications of this vector system.
Project description:Dumbbell-shaped DNA minimal vectors represent genetic vectors solely composed of the gene expression cassette of interest and terminal closing loop structures. Dumbbell vectors for small hairpin RNA or microRNA expression are extremely small-sized, which is advantageous with regard to cellular delivery and nuclear diffusion. Conventional strategies for the generation of small RNA-expressing dumbbell vectors require cloning of a respective plasmid vector, which is subsequently used for dumbbell production. Here, we present a novel cloning-free method for the generation of small RNA-expressing dumbbell vectors that also does not require any restriction endonucleases. This new PCR-based method uses a universal DNA template comprising an inverted repeat of the minimal H1 promoter and the miR-30 stem. The sequences coding for small RNA expression are introduced by the PCR primers. Dumbbells are formed by denaturing and reannealing of the PCR product and are covalently closed using ssDNA ligase. The new protocol generates plus- and/or minus-strand dumbbells, both of which were shown to trigger efficient target gene knockdown. This method enables fast, cheap production of small RNA-expressing dumbbell vectors in a high throughput-compatible manner for functional genomics screens or, as dumbbells are not prone to transgene silencing, for knockdown studies in primary cells.
Project description:Dumbbell-shaped DNA minimal vectors lacking nontherapeutic genes and bacterial sequences are considered a stable, safe alternative to viral, nonviral, and naked plasmid-based gene-transfer systems. We investigated novel molecular features of dumbbell vectors aiming to reduce vector size and to improve the expression of noncoding or coding RNA. We minimized small hairpin RNA (shRNA) or microRNA (miRNA) expressing dumbbell vectors in size down to 130?bp generating the smallest genetic expression vectors reported. This was achieved by using a minimal H1 promoter with integrated transcriptional terminator transcribing the RNA hairpin structure around the dumbbell loop. Such vectors were generated with high conversion yields using a novel protocol. Minimized shRNA-expressing dumbbells showed accelerated kinetics of delivery and transcription leading to enhanced gene silencing in human tissue culture cells. In primary human T cells, minimized miRNA-expressing dumbbells revealed higher stability and triggered stronger target gene suppression as compared with plasmids and miRNA mimics. Dumbbell-driven gene expression was enhanced up to 56- or 160-fold by implementation of an intron and the SV40 enhancer compared with control dumbbells or plasmids. Advanced dumbbell vectors may represent one option to close the gap between durable expression that is achievable with integrating viral vectors and short-term effects triggered by naked RNA.
Project description:In this paper, we demonstrate the stabilization of polystyrene microspheres by encapsulating them with dumbbell-shaped colloids with a sticky and a nonsticky lobe. Upon adding a depletant, an effective short ranged attraction is induced between the microspheres and the smaller, smooth lobes of the dumbbells, making those specifically sticky, whereas the interaction with the larger lobes of the dumbbells is considerably less attractive due to their rough surface, which reduces the overlap volume and leaves them nonsticky. The encapsulation of the microspheres by these rough-smooth patchy dumbbells is investigated using a combination of experiments and computer simulations, both resulting in partial coverage of the template particles. For larger microspheres, the depletion attraction is stronger, resulting in a larger fraction of dumbbells that are attached with both lobes to the surface of microspheres. We thus find a template curvature dependent orientation of the dumbbells. In the Monte Carlo simulations, the introduction of such a small, curvature dependent attraction between the rough lobes of the dumbbells resulted in an increased coverage. However, kinetic constraints imposed by the dumbbell geometry seem to prevent optimal packing of the dumbbells on the template particles under all investigated conditions in experiments and simulations. Despite the incomplete coverage, the encapsulation by dumbbell particles does prevent aggregation of the microspheres, thus acting as a colloid-sized steric stabilizer.
Project description:A unified view of polymer, dumbbell, and oligonucleotide nearest-neighbor (NN) thermodynamics is presented. DNA NN DeltaG degrees 37 parameters from seven laboratories are presented in the same format so that careful comparisons can be made. The seven studies used data from natural polymers, synthetic polymers, oligonucleotide dumbbells, and oligonucleotide duplexes to derive NN parameters; used different methods of data analysis; used different salt concentrations; and presented the NN thermodynamics in different formats. As a result of these differences, there has been much confusion regarding the NN thermodynamics of DNA polymers and oligomers. Herein I show that six of the studies are actually in remarkable agreement with one another and explanations are provided in cases where discrepancies remain. Further, a single set of parameters, derived from 108 oligonucleotide duplexes, adequately describes polymer and oligomer thermodynamics. Empirical salt dependencies are also derived for oligonucleotides and polymers.
Project description:Training the bench press exercise on a traditional flat bench does not induce a level of instability as seen in sport movements and activities of daily living. Twenty participants were recruited to test two forms of instability: using one dumbbell rather than two and lifting on the COR bench compared to a flat bench. Electromyography (EMG) amplitudes of the pectoralis major, middle trapezius, external oblique, and internal oblique were recorded and compared. Differences in range of motion (ROM) were evaluated by measuring an angular representation of the shoulder complex. Four separate conditions of unilateral bench press were tested while lifting on a: flat bench with one dumbbell, flat bench with two dumbbells, COR Bench with one dumbbell, and COR Bench with two dumbbells. The results imply that there are no differences in EMG amplitude or ROM between the COR bench and traditional bench. However, greater ROM was found to be utilized in the single dumbbell condition, both in the COR bench and the flat bench.
Project description:We present a single-molecule method for measuring the torque exerted by braided DNA molecules undergoing spontaneous unbraiding while attached to a paramagnetic dumbbell in the absence of external manipulation. A magnetic tweezers setup is employed to braid pairs of lambda DNA molecules covalently bound to a surface. Upon removing the magnetic field, the braided DNA molecules undergo spontaneous unbraiding, efficiently transforming the stored elastic energy into enough mechanical energy to rotate the tethered dumbbells for periods as long as 30 minutes. Using hydrodynamic equations we estimate the torque exerted on the dumbbells by the DNA braids, yielding values ranging from 47 to 166 pN nm.
Project description:Computational techniques have been used to design a novel class of RNA architecture with expected improved resistance to nuclease degradation, while showing interference RNA activity. The in silico designed structure consists of a 24-29 bp duplex RNA region linked on both ends by N-alkyl-N dimeric nucleotides (BCn dimers; n = number of carbon atoms of the alkyl chain). A series of N-alkyl-N capped dumbbell-shaped structures were efficiently synthesized by double ligation of BCn-loop hairpins. The resulting BCn-loop dumbbells displayed experimentally higher biostability than their 3'-N-alkyl-N linear version, and were active against a range of mRNA targets. We studied first the effect of the alkyl chain and stem lengths on RNAi activity in a screen involving two series of dumbbell analogues targeting Renilla and Firefly luciferase genes. The best dumbbell design (containing BC6 loops and 29 bp) was successfully used to silence GRB7 expression in HER2+ breast cancer cells for longer periods of time than natural siRNAs and known biostable dumbbells. This BC6-loop dumbbell-shaped structure displayed greater anti-proliferative activity than natural siRNAs.
Project description:Dumbbell probe (DP) attracts increasing interests in rolling circle amplification (RCA). A universal DP production method through cleavage-ligation of hairpin was proposed and optimized. The production is characterized by restriction endonuclease (RE)-induced cleavage ends ligation. It has the advantage of phosphorylation-free, splint-free and purification-free. To optimize designing, we found that the position of RE cleavage sequence in the stem and the primer position in the loop affected the formation and amplification of DP obviously. Both sticky and blunt ends cleaved by RE produce DP efficiently. Moreover, we introduced this DP into circle to circle (C2C) RCA based on the same cleavage-ligation principle, and acquired high sensitivity. By combining a two-ligation design and the C2C strategy, specificity for detecting let-7 family members was increased extremely. Furthermore, coreaction of different steps facilitated convenient formation and amplification process of DP.
Project description:In this protocol, we describe a procedure to generate 'DNA dumbbells'-single molecules of DNA with a microscopic bead attached at each end-and techniques for manipulating individual DNA dumbbells. We also detail the design and fabrication of a microfluidic device (flow cell) used in conjunction with dual optical trapping to manipulate DNA dumbbells and to visualize individual protein-DNA complexes by single-molecule epifluorescence microscopy. Our design of the flow cell enables the rapid movement of trapped molecules between laminar flow channels and a flow-free reservoir. The reservoir provides the means to examine the formation of protein-DNA complexes in solution in the absence of external flow forces while maintaining a predetermined end-to-end extension of the DNA. These features facilitate the examination of the role of 3D DNA conformation and dynamics in protein-DNA interactions. Preparation of flow cells and reagents requires 2 days each; in situ DNA dumbbell assembly and imaging of single protein-DNA complexes require another day.
Project description:Two series of novel dumbbell-shaped polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSSs), fully functionalized with phenyl groups at the corner of the silicon cages, were used to prepare polystyrene (PS) nanocomposites through the method of in situ polymerization. The percentage of the molecular filler reinforcement was set as 5% w/w of POSS and was checked by 1H-NMR spectroscopy. The obtained nanocomposites were characterized by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Thermal and morphological properties were evaluated and compared among the nanocomposites obtained using the two different series of dumbbell-shaped POSSs and with the net PS. The thermal parameters for the prepared nanocomposites were very high when compared with those of neat PS, and they evidenced significant differences when an aliphatic or aromatic bridge was used to link the silicon cages. SEM analysis results allow us to hypothesize a justification for the different resistance to thermal degradation showed by the two series of molecular reinforcement.