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Title: Ten years of antisense inhibition of brain G-protein-coupled receptor function
Authors: Van Oekelen, Dirk ×
Luyten, Walter
Leysen, Josée E #
Issue Date: May-2003
Publisher: Elsevier/North-Holland Biomedical Press
Series Title: Brain Research Reviews vol:42 issue:2 pages:123-142
Abstract: Antisense oligonucleotides (AOs) are widely used as tools for inhibiting gene expression in the mammalian central nervous system. Successful gene suppression has been reported for different targets such as neurotransmitter receptors, neuropeptides, ion channels, trophic factors, cytokines, transporters, and others. This illustrates their potential for studying the expression and function of a wide range of proteins. AOs may even find therapeutic applications and provide an attractive strategy for intervention in diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). However, a lack of effectiveness and/or specificity could be a major drawback for research or clinical applications. Here we provide a critical overview of the literature from the past decade on AOs for the study of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The following aspects will be considered: mechanisms by which AOs exert their effects, types of animal model system used, detection of antisense action, effects of AO design and delivery characteristics, non-antisense effects and toxicological properties, controls used in antisense studies to assess specificity, and our results (failures and successes). Although the start codon of the mRNA is the most popular region (46%) to target by AOs, targeting the coding region of GPCRs is almost as common (41%). Moreover, AOs directed to the coding region of the GPCR mRNA induce the highest reductions in receptor levels. To resist degradation by nucleases, the modified phosphorothioate AO (S-AO) is the most widely used and effective oligonucleotide. However, the end-capped phosphorothioate AOs (ECS-AOs) are increasingly used due to possible toxic and non-specific effects of the S-AO. Other parameters affecting the activity of a GPCR-targeting AO are the length (mostly an 18-, 20- or 21-mer) and the GC-content (mostly varying from 30 to 80%). Interestingly, one-third of the AOs successfully targeting GPCRs possess a GC/AT ratio of 61-70%. AO-induced reductions in GPCR expression levels and function range typically from 21 to 40% and 41 to 50%, respectively. In contrast to many antisense reviews, we therefore conclude that the functional activity of a GPCR after AO treatment correlates mostly with the density of the target receptors (maximum factor 2). However, AOs are no simple tools for experimental use in vivo. Despite successful results in GPCR research, no general guidelines exist for designing a GPCR-targeting AO or, in general, for setting up a GPCR antisense experiment. It seems that the correct choice of a GPCR targeting AO can only be ascertained empirically. This disadvantage of antisense approaches results mostly from incomplete knowledge about the internalisation and mechanism of action of AOs. Together with non-specific effects of AOs and the difficulties of assessing target specificity, this makes the use of AOs a complex approach from which conclusions must be drawn with caution. Further antisense research has to be carried out to ensure the adequate use of AOs for studying GPCR function and to develop antisense as a valuable therapeutic modality.
URI: 
ISSN: 0165-0173
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Section Woman - Miscellaneous (-)
Department of Pharmaceutical & Pharmacological Sciences - miscellaneous
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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