Activation and Deactivation of Antisense and RNA Interference Function with Light

  • Jeane M. Govan
  • Alexander Deiters
Part of the RNA Technologies book series (RNATECHN)


Oligonucleotides and oligonucleotide analogs have shown to be efficient tools for the silencing of gene expression in a wide range of cell lines and various model organisms. Such oligonucleotides include hairpin DNA, phosphorothioate DNA, morpholino oligonucleotides, peptide nucleic acids, and others. The common mode of action for all antisense agents is sequence-specific duplex formation with messenger RNA (mRNA), leading to the inhibition of translation and/or mRNA degradation and thus gene silencing. RNA interference (RNAi) is another tool to regulate gene expression through the site-specific degradation of mRNA. Several methods for the light regulation of oligonucleotide duplex formation and RNAi function have been developed, including the site-specific installation of light-removable protecting groups (caging groups) on nucleobases and photocleaveable inhibitor sequences. Light is an ideal external regulatory element as light irradiation can be easily and precisely controlled in timing, location, and amplitude. Through the engineering of light-activated oligonucleotides, their function can be regulated with high spatial and temporal resolution, allowing photochemical control of gene expression in biological systems with unprecedented precision.


Antisense agents Gene expression Light regulation siRNA 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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