An amphipathic trans-acting phosphorothioate RNA element delivers an uncharged phosphorodiamidate morpholino sequence in mdx mouse myotubes†
An efficient method for the delivery of uncharged polyA-tailed phosphorodiamidate morpholino sequences (PMO) in mammalian cells consists of employing a synthetic 8-mer amphipathic trans-acting poly-2′-O-methyluridylic thiophosphate triester element (2′-OMeUtaPS) as a transfection reagent. Unlike the dTtaPS DNA-based element, this RNA element is potent at delivering polyA-tailed PMO sequences to HeLa pLuc 705 cells or to myotube muscle cells. However, much like dTtaPS, the 2′-OMeUtaPS-mediated internalization of PMO sequences occurs through an energy-dependent mechanism; macropinocytosis appears to be the predominant endocytic pathway used for cellular uptake. The transfected PMO sequences induce alternate splicing of either the pre-mRNA encoding luciferase in HeLa pLuc 705 cells or the excision of exon 23 from the pre-mRNA encoding dystrophin in myotube muscle cells of the mdx mouse model of muscular dystrophy with an efficiency comparable to that of commercial cationic lipid reagents but without detrimental cytotoxicity.