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Schaukowitch K.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | Schaukowitch K.,University of Southampton | Joo J.-Y.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | Liu X.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Cell | Year: 2014

Enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) are a class of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNA) expressed from active enhancers, whose function and action mechanism are yet to befirmly established. Here we show that eRNAs facilitate the transition of paused RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) into productive elongation by acting as a decoy for the negative elongation factor (NELF) complex upon induction of immediate early genes (IEGs) in neurons. eRNAs are synthesized priorto the culmination of target gene transcription andinteract with the NELF complex. Knockdown of eRNAs expressed at neuronal enhancers impairs transient release of NELF from the specific target promoters during transcriptional activation, coinciding with a decrease in target mRNA induction. The enhancer-promoter interaction was unaffected by eRNA knockdown. Instead, chromatin looping might enable eRNAs to act locally at a specific promoter. Our findings highlight the spatiotemporally regulated action mechanism of eRNAs during early transcriptional elongation. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Wu S.Y.,University of Houston | Yang X.,AM Biotechnologies, LLC | Gharpure K.M.,University of Houston | Hatakeyama H.,University of Houston | And 43 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2014

Improving small interfering RNA (siRNA) efficacy in target cell populations remains a challenge to its clinical implementation. Here, we report a chemical modification, consisting of phosphorodithioate (PS2) and 2′-O-Methyl (2′-OMe) MePS2 on one nucleotide that significantly enhances potency and resistance to degradation for various siRNAs. We find enhanced potency stems from an unforeseen increase in siRNA loading to the RNA-induced silencing complex, likely due to the unique interaction mediated by 2′-OMe and PS2. We demonstrate the therapeutic utility of MePS2 siRNAs in chemoresistant ovarian cancer mouse models via targeting GRAM domain containing 1B (GRAMD1B), a protein involved in chemoresistance. GRAMD1B silencing is achieved in tumours following MePS2-modified siRNA treatment, leading to a synergistic anti-tumour effect in combination with paclitaxel. Given the previously limited success in enhancing siRNA potency with chemically modified siRNAs, our findings represent an important advance in siRNA design with the potential for application in numerous cancer types. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Pallan P.S.,Vanderbilt University | Yang X.,AM Biotechnologies, LLC | Sierant M.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Abeydeera N.D.,AM Biotechnologies, LLC | And 5 more authors.
RSC Advances | Year: 2014

Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) with phosphorodithioate modifications (PS2-RNA) possess favourable properties for use as RNAi therapeutics. Beneficial here is the combining of PS2 and 2′-O-methyl modifications (MePS2). SiRNAs with MePS2 moieties in the sense strand show promising efficacies in vitro and in vivo. Crystal structures of PS2- and MePS2- modified RNAs reveal subtle changes in geometry and hydration compared with natural RNA. A model of an MePS2-RNA-PAZ domain complex points to a hydrophobic effect as the source of the higher affinity of MePS2-RNA for Ago2. © 2014 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Yang X.,AM Biotechnologies, LLC | Sierant M.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Janicka M.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Peczek L.,Polish Academy of Sciences | And 6 more authors.
ACS Chemical Biology | Year: 2012

Chemically synthesized small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) have been widely used to identify gene function and hold great potential in providing a new class of therapeutics. Chemical modifications are desired for therapeutic applications to improve siRNA efficacy. Appropriately protected ribonucleoside-3′-yl S-[β-(benzoylmercapto)ethyl]pyrrolidino- thiophosphoramidite monomers were prepared for the synthesis of siRNA containing phosphorodithioate (PS2) substitutions in which the two non-bridging oxygen atoms are replaced by sulfur atoms. A series of siRNAs containing PS2 substitutions have been strategically designed, synthesized, and evaluated for their gene silencing activities. These PS2-siRNA duplexes exhibit an A-form helical structure similar to unmodified siRNA. The effect of PS2 substitutions on gene silencing activity is position-dependent, with certain PS2-siRNAs showing activity significantly higher than that of unmodified siRNA. The relative gene silencing activities of siRNAs containing either PS2 or phosphoromonothioate (PS) linkages at identical positions are variable and depend on the sites of modification. 5′-Phosphorylation of PS2-siRNAs has little or no effect on gene silencing activity. Incorporation of PS2 substitutions into siRNA duplexes increases their serum stability. These results offer preliminary evidence of the potential value of PS2-modified siRNAs. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Li D.,University of Maryland, Baltimore | MacKowiak B.,University of Maryland, Baltimore | Brayman T.G.,Sigma Life Science | Mitchell M.,Sigma Life Science | And 3 more authors.
Biochemical Pharmacology | Year: 2015

The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) modulates the transcription of numerous genes involving drug metabolism, energy homeostasis, and cell proliferation. Most functions of CAR however were defined from animal studies. Given the known species difference of CAR and the significant cross-talk between CAR and the pregnane X receptor (PXR), it is extremely difficult to decipher the exact role of human CAR (hCAR) in gene regulation, relying predominantly on pharmacological manipulations. Here, utilizing a newly generated hCAR-knockout (KO) HepaRG cell line, we carried out RNA-seq analysis of the global transcriptomes in wild-type (WT) and hCAR-KO HepaRG cells treated with CITCO, a selective hCAR agonist, phenobarbital (PB), a dual activator of hCAR and hPXR, or vehicle control. Real-time PCR assays in separate experiments were used to validate RNA-seq findings. Our results indicate that genes encoding drug-metabolizing enzymes are among the main clusters altered by both CITCO and PB. Specifically, CITCO significantly changed the expression of 135 genes in an hCAR-dependent manner, while PB altered the expression of 227 genes in WT cells of which 94 were simultaneously modulated in both cell lines reflecting dual effects of PB on hCAR/PXR. Notably, we found that many genes promoting cell proliferation and tumorigenesis were up-regulated in hCAR-KO cells, suggesting that hCAR may play an important role in cell growth that differs from mouse CAR. Together, our results reveal both novel and known targets of hCAR and support the role of hCAR in maintaining the homeostasis of metabolism and cell proliferation in the liver. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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