Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) binding-mediated induction of human γ-globin gene expression

Gan Wang, Xiaoxin Xu, Betty Pace, David A. Dean, Peter M. Glazer, Phillip Chan, Steven R. Goodman, Inna Shokolenko

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Abstract

Peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) can bind to homopurine/homopyrimidine sequences of double-stranded DNA targets in a sequence-specific manner and form [PNA]2/DNA triplexes with single-stranded DNA D-loop structures at the PNA binding sites. These D-loop structures have been found to have a capacity to initiate transcription in vitro. If this strategy can be used to induce transcription of endogenous genes, it may provide a novel approach for gene therapy of many human diseases. Human β globin disorders such as sickle cell anemia and β-thalassemia are very common genetic diseases that are caused by mutations in the β-globin gene. When γ-globin genes are highly expressed in sickle cell patients, the presence of high levels of fetal hemoglobin (HbF, α2γ2) can compensate for the defective β-globin gene product and such patients have much improved symptoms or are free of disease. However, the γ-globin genes are developmentally regulated and normally expressed at very low levels (> 1%) in adult blood cells. We have investigated the possibility of inducing γ-globin gene expression with PNAs. Using PNAs designed to bind to the 5' flanking region of the γ-globin gene, induction of expression of a reporter gene construct was demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo. More importantly, PNA-mediated induction of endogenous γ-globin gene expression was also demonstrated in K562 human erythroleukemia cells. This result suggests that induction of γ-globin gene expression with PNAs might provide a new approach for the treatment of sickle cell disease. PNA-induced gene expression strategy also may have implications in gene therapy of other diseases such as genetic diseases, cancer and infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2806-2813
Number of pages8
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Volume27
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 1999

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

Cite this

Wang, G., Xu, X., Pace, B., Dean, D. A., Glazer, P. M., Chan, P., Goodman, S. R., & Shokolenko, I. (1999). Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) binding-mediated induction of human γ-globin gene expression. Nucleic Acids Research, 27(13), 2806-2813. https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/27.13.2806