US20150025122A1 - Methods and Compositions for Modulating Gene Expression Using Oligonucleotide Based Drugs Administered in vivo or in vitro - Google Patents

Methods and Compositions for Modulating Gene Expression Using Oligonucleotide Based Drugs Administered in vivo or in vitro Download PDF

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US20150025122A1
US20150025122A1 US14148191 US201414148191A US2015025122A1 US 20150025122 A1 US20150025122 A1 US 20150025122A1 US 14148191 US14148191 US 14148191 US 201414148191 A US201414148191 A US 201414148191A US 2015025122 A1 US2015025122 A1 US 2015025122A1
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Abstract

Compositions and methods for down modulating target gene expression with RNA interference, as well as methods for administering said compositions are disclosed. The method comprises administering a first strand to a cell, incubating the cell for a time period suitable for uptake of the first oligo prior to administering a second strand, wherein the first strand and said second strand form an intracellular duplex which is effective to catalyze degradation of gene target mRNA or inhibit translation of said mRNA.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/250,714, filed 12 Oct. 2009, the entire contents of which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates to the fields of medicine and gene regulation. More specifically, the invention provides compositions and methods of use thereof which facilitate the modulation of gene expression using novel oligonucleotide based drugs.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Numerous publications and patent documents, including both published applications and issued patents, are cited throughout the specification in order to describe the state of the art to which this invention pertains. Each of these citations is incorporated herein by reference as though set forth in full.
  • Conventional antisense oligonucleotides (oligos) directed to transcripts of a given target gene for the purpose of inhibiting the expression of the target gene are most often DNA analogs or are comprised of a DNA analog sequence flanked by RNA analog sequences. They are administered and function as single stranded agents. Such agents typically inhibit the expression of their target gene by a RNase H dependent mechanism and/or by sterically hindering some key process in gene expression such as ribosomal assembly or splicing.
  • Antisense oligos vary widely in their ability to block the expression of the target gene in cells. This appears, at least in part, to be due to: (1) variations in the availability for binding of the particular target site on the transcript that is complementary to the antisense oligo; (2) the binding affinity of the oligo for the target; and (3) the mechanism of antisense inhibition. Hence, what has been referred to as the poor uptake of oligos in part reflects the use of antisense oligos that are not properly designed and are, therefore, not optimally potent.
  • It is also possible that the culturing of cell lines under atmospheric oxygen conditions (which is the usual in vitro practice) produces a situation in which single stranded antisense oligos are made less active than they may be at much reduced (and more physiologically-relevant) oxygen tensions. The basis of this latter phenomenon could be due, in part, to the increased generation of reactive free oxygen radicals under ambient (atmospheric) oxygen levels by cells following treatment with any of several types of charged oligos, such as phosphorothioates. Highly reactive free oxygen radicals have been shown to have the capacity to alter the lipids in the surface membranes of cells, and to activate certain second-messenger pathways. Such alterations could lead to an inhibition of antisense oligo uptake and/or to other non-antisense oligo dependent biologic effects.
  • In general the administration of conventional antisense oligos in vivo or to freshly obtained tissues in vitro is much more effective in suppressing target gene expression compared to the administration of the same oligo in vitro to a cell line (Eckstein, Expert Opin Biol Ther 7: 1021, 2007). The likely reason for this is the more successful sequestration of oligos in endosomes or lysosomes by cell lines grown in vitro. In general, the successful treatment of cell lines in vitro with antisense oligos requires the use of a carrier.
  • The potential for conventional antisense oligos to be active in vivo against a wide variety of targets and a wide variety of tissues is evidenced by the many publications. Pharmacologic/toxicologic studies of phosphorothioate antisense oligos, for example, have shown that they are adequately stable under in vivo conditions, and that they are readily taken up by all the tissues in the body following systemic administration (Iversen, Anticancer Drug Design 6:531, 1991; Iversen, Antisense Res. Develop. 4:43, 1994; Crooke, Ann. Rev. Pharm. Toxicol. 32: 329, 1992; Cornish et al., Pharmacol. Comm. 3: 239, 1993; Agrawal et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88: 7595, 1991; Cossum et al., J. Pharm. Exp. Therapeutics 269: 89, 1994). In addition, these compounds readily gain access to the tissue in the central nervous system in large amounts following injection into the cerebral spinal fluid (Osen-Sand et al., Nature 364: 445, 1993; Suzuki et al., Amer J. Physiol. 266: R1418, 1994; Draguno et al., Neuroreport 5: 305, 1993; Sommer et al., Neuroreport 5: 277, 1993; Heilig et al., Eur. J. Pharm. 236: 339, 1993; Chiasson et al., Eur J. Pharm. 227: 451, 1992).
  • Despite the numerous documented successful treatments of animal models with conventional antisense oligos, clinical successes with these molecules to date have been few. The obstacles to clinical success with conventional antisense involve problems in the following areas: poor choice of target gene, use of inappropriate animal models for predicting clinical response, use of oligo with suboptimum mechanisms for inhibiting the selected gene target, selection of suboptimum oligo sequences and use of interfering concomitant medications.
  • The two principle mechanisms by which most conventional antisense oligos suppress the expression of their target gene each have positive and negative features, the net effect of which varies with the commercial purpose for which the oligo is being used. The principle advantage of the RNase H based mechanism is that it allows the conventional antisense oligo to function catalytically. Such oligos bind to the targeted RNA transcript, thereby forming a target for RNase H. This enzyme cleaves the transcript at the site hybridized to the oligo and then the oligo is released and is free to repeat the process. This approach is limited by the finding that many cells do not have adequate amounts of RNase H to provide for a robust antisense oligo response. In general, this is true for many cell types that are not stem cells.
  • The principle advantage to conventional antisense oligos with a steric hindrance mechanism is that they can act in any cell type since they are not dependent on RNase. This class of conventional antisense oligo includes members that have the capability of producing alternative splicing of target transcripts resulting in commercially useful effects. The principle disadvantages associated with this mechanism are (1) it is not catalytic; and (2) the choices of RNA transcript sites available for oligo binding is much more limited than for oligos based on the RNase H mechanism. These restricted target sites often provide for suboptimal binding affinity with the conventional antisense oligo on the basis of complementary base pairing.
  • A variant of the conventional antisense oligo approach is based on the use of RNA analogs rather than on DNA analogs that form the basis of the common approaches just described. As for the DNA based oligos these RNA based oligos are delivered and function as single strands. Specifically, the RNA analog oligo binds to its target RNA transcript by complementary base paring and as a result of the hybridization activates one or more cellular enzymes that cause the cleavage of the target transcript. These enzymes include those that attack double stranded RNA (dsRNA). These RNA analogs are chemically modified to increase their resistance to nuclease attack, improve their binding affinity to their RNA transcript target and to improve their phamacokinetics. Typically these modifications to naturally occurring (native) RNA (i.e., RNA with normal C, G, U and A bases, ribose sugar and phosphodiester linkages) involve changes in the linkages between the subunits and/or modifications to the 2′ hydroxyl of the ribose. Many but not all such RNA modifications and related modifications to such RNA analogs are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,898,031, 6,107,094 and in their foreign counterparts such as WO9746570.
  • In one version of this approach, 17-mer oligoribonucleotides with nucleotides joined by phosphorothioate linkages with a gapmer structure have been shown to promote cleavage of the target mRNA by a double stranded RNase found in mammalian tissues (Wu et al., J Biol Chem 273: 2532, 1998). These investigators found that the center of the gapmer required a minimum of four nucleotides with native ribose sugars flanked by 2′-0-methyl modified nucleotides in order to show activity against the target.
  • Certain exogenously administered dsRNA molecules in the range of 16-30mers in size can also be used to suppress the expression of particular genes. Longer dsRNA have also been administered in vitro but in vivo longer dsRNA can provoke undesirable responses such as the induction of interferon. These agents include dicer substrates and siRNA. When the former are administered to cells an intracellular process converts them into shorter siRNA that are typically around 21 nucleotides in length. Exogenous siRNA can also be directly administered to cells and can be of different lengths than endogenously generated siRNA.
  • The general term RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) has been applied to such molecules as well as to their naturally occurring counterparts and the mechanisms behind such selective suppression of gene expression has been the focus of a substantial research effort since the discovery of the underling mechanism in the late 1990's. In brief, what appears to be the most common mechanism involves the loading of one strand of the dsRNA of an appropriate size into a naturally occurring intracellular molecular complex called the RNA-induced silencing complex (“RISC”). The loaded strand functions as an antisense oligo but is more often referred to as a “guide strand.” The guide strand then directs the resultant RISC entity to its binding site on the gene target RNA transcript. Once bound, the RISC commonly directs cleavage of the RNA target by an argonaute enzyme. In some instances, translation may be inhibited by a steric hindrance mechanism. In yet another variant manifestation, the RISC may be directed to a particular gene itself where it can play an inhibitor function with respect to the expression of the gene. The intracellular mechanisms that are required for the successful suppression of particular genes by exogenously supplied siRNA are also involved in the processing of microRNA which is a normal part of the gene expression regulatory system normally found in cells.
  • Accordingly, RNAi based therapeutics have the capability of both having a catalytic mechanism of action and in being active in a broader range of cell types than conventional antisense oligos based on the RNase H mechanism of action or than conventional antisense oligos based on the steric hindrance mechanism where the target sequence would lead to a suboptimum inhibition. Thus, RNAi agents have the potential to complement conventional antisense oligos in a variety of commercial applications including the treatment of medical disorders.
  • Exogenously supplied RNAi can have the naturally occurring RNA structure (native) and be delivered to cells in vitro by means of an appropriate carrier such as certain cationic liposomes in common use for this purpose. Native dsRNA is more resistant to ribonuclease attack than native single stranded RNA, the carrier can provide more protection from ribonucleases and the tissue culture medium can be configured to reduce the levels of ribonucleases.
  • Chemical modifications to exogenously supplied RNAi can improve the half-life of the dsRNA and provide certain other advantages of commercial value such as biasing the selection of a particular strand in the dsRNA by RISC to function as the guide strand. Such modifications are most imperative when the RNAi is to be used in vivo where the ribonucleases present a greater obstacle than they do in vitro.
  • It is widely recognized that the principle drawback to double stranded RNAi agents for therapeutic and other purposes is their poor uptake by cells in a form that is bioavailable and effective to suppress gene expression both in vitro and particularly in vivo. In vitro this can be mitigated by various existing carriers such as certain cationic liposomes, such as Lipofectamine®, but these are not practical for in vivo use. There is a large and growing literature involving both patent disclosures and scientific publications providing various means of promoting the uptake of RNAi agents in vivo but to date all are complicated, difficult to utilize, have related toxicity and none has proven to have broad utility.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In accordance with the present invention, compounds which inhibit the expression of specific gene targets are disclosed. Exemplary compounds are based on SEQ ID NOS: 119-377 and duplexes thereof. Using the sequences provided in Genbank and design parameters set forth, the skilled person can readily generate novel oligo based compounds to inhibit the expression of gene targets including those provided in Table 2. An exemplary method entails contacting a cell expressing the gene target with an effective amount of an oligonucleotide, the oligo being effective to inhibit expression of the target, thereby reducing the amount of protein produced by the target gene. Oligos can include, without limitation, a single stranded siRNA, a double stranded siRNA, a dicer substrate, complementary sense and antisense oligos, an RNA analog oligo, an RNA/DNA analog oligo, and a single stranded DNA oligo.
  • In a particularly preferred embodiment, a two-step administration method is disclosed. An exemplary method entails administration of a first oligo strand to said cell, incubation of said cells for a suitable time period, followed by administration of a second oligo strand to said cell, said first strand and said second strand forming an intracellular duplex which is effective to catalyze degradation of target gene mRNA or inhibit translation of said mRNA. In the case of in vivo administration methods, the incubation step is omitted. Rather, administration of the second strand is delayed for an appropriate time period. After this time period elapses, the second strand is administered to those cells harboring the first strand. A duplex is then formed intraceullarly which is effective to down modulate gene target expression. Preferably, this method is performed in vivo in order to inhibit gene expression associated with a particular disease state such as those listed in Table 2.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1: Boranophosphate Linkage
  • FIG. 2: Boranophosphate Monomer with Native Ribose
  • FIG. 3: Compounds directed to Human p53 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 119); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 120)
  • FIG. 4: Compounds directed to Human p53 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 121); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 122)
  • FIG. 5: Compounds directed to Human p53 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 123); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 124)
  • FIG. 6: Compounds directed to Human p53 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 125); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 126)
  • FIG. 7: Compounds directed to Human p53 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 127); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 128)
  • FIG. 8: Compounds directed to Human p53 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 129); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 130)
  • FIG. 9: Compounds directed to Human p53 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 131); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 132)
  • FIG. 10: Compounds directed to Human p53 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 133); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 134)
  • FIG. 11: Compounds directed to Human Fas Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 135); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 136)
  • FIG. 12: Compounds directed to Human Fas Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 137); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 138)
  • FIG. 13: Compounds directed to Human Fas Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 139); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 140)
  • FIG. 14: Compounds directed to Human Fas Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 141); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 142)
  • FIG. 15: Compounds directed to Human Fas Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 143); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 144)
  • FIG. 16: Compounds directed to Human Fas Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 145); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 146)
  • FIG. 17: Compounds directed to Human/Murine ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 147); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 148)
  • FIG. 18: Compounds directed to Human/Murine ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 149); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 150)
  • FIG. 19: Compounds directed to Human/Murine ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 151); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 152)
  • FIG. 20: Compounds directed to Human/Murine ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 153); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 154)
  • FIG. 21: Compounds directed to Human/Murine ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 155); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 156)
  • FIG. 22: Compounds directed to Human/Murine ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 157); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 158)
  • FIG. 23: Compounds directed to Human/Murine ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 159); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 160)
  • FIG. 24: Compounds directed to Human ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 161); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 162)
  • FIG. 25: Compounds directed to Human ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 163); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 164)
  • FIG. 26: Compounds directed to Human ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 165); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 166)
  • FIG. 27: Compounds directed to Human ApoB Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 167); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 168)
  • FIG. 28: Compounds directed to Human/Murine/RatNonhuman Primate PCSK9 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 169); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 170)
  • FIG. 29: Compounds directed to Human/Murine/Rat/Nonhuman Primate PCSK9 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 171); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 172)
  • FIG. 30: Compounds directed to Human/Murine/Rat/Nonhuman Primate PCSK9 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 173); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 174)
  • FIG. 31: Compounds directed to Human/Murine/Rat/Nonhuman Primate PCSK9 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 175); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 176)
  • FIG. 32: Compounds directed to Human/Murine/Rat/Nonhuman Primate PCSK9 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 177); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 178)
  • FIG. 33: Compounds directed to Human PCSK9 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 179); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 180); Variant A: Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 181); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 182); Variant B: Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 183); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 184); Variant C: Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 185); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 186)
  • FIG. 34: Compounds directed to Human PCSK9 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 187); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 188); Variant A: Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 189); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 190); Variant B: Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 191); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 192); Variant C: Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 193); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 194)
  • FIG. 35: Compounds directed to Human PCSK9 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 195); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 196)
  • FIG. 36: Compounds directed to Human PCSK9 Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 197); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 198)
  • FIG. 37: Compounds directed to Human PTEN Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 199); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 200)
  • FIG. 38: Compounds directed to Human PTEN Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 201); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 202)
  • FIG. 39: Compounds directed to Human PTEN Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 203); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 204)
  • FIG. 40: Compounds directed to Human PTEN Top strand (SEQ ID NO: 205); Bottom strand (SEQ ID NO: 206)
  • FIG. 41. Sequential RNAi-mediated inhibition of PTEN in Hela cells. Fluorescent Western blotting of PTEN after lipofectamine 2000-mediated transfection of the indicated compounds (0.20 μM) in Hela cells. Mean values from 2 independent transfection experiments. Error bars represent SEM. Oligo 8 serves as a non-silencing control. Sequential addition of single strands performed as described. Values shown represent the mean PTEN protein levels (the ratio of PTEN to Erk2) after normalization to the PTEN level in the oligo 8 lysate. Fluorescent images were quantified on a Typhoon Trio variable mode imager.
  • FIG. 42: Compounds directed to Human PTEN are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIG. 43: Compounds directed to Mouse PTEN are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIGS. 44A and 44B: Compounds directed to Human/Mouse PCSK9 are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIGS. 45A and 45B: Compounds directed to Mouse PTP are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIG. 46: Compounds directed to Human/Mouse PTP1B are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIGS. 47A and 47B: Compounds directed to Human p53 are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIGS. 48A and 48B: Compounds directed to Human p53 are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIGS. 49A and 49B: Compounds directed to Human/Mouse ApoB are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIGS. 50A and 50B: Compounds directed to Human/Mouse ApoB are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIG. 51: Compounds directed to Human PTP1B are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIGS. 52A and 52B: Compounds directed to Mouse Notch1 are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIGS. 53A and 53B: Compounds directed to Mouse MDR are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIGS. 54A, 54B and 54C: Compounds directed to Mouse COX2 are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • FIGS. 55A and 55B: Compounds directed to Mouse WRN are shown. SEQ ID NOS: are provided in parentheses.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION A. Overview of Invention
  • There have been sporadic reports in the literature of instances where a particular antisense RNA molecule has been shown to have RNAi activity when administered to cells as a single strand. Xu et al., (Biochem Biophys Res Comm 316: 680-687, 2004) conducted an in vitro study to determine how frequently such antisense RNA strands occur during screening and how active they are compared to the corresponding duplex. All the compounds tested comprised unmodified RNA. The authors found that antisense strands used alone are much less active than the corresponding duplex. Further, they determined that this difference in activity was due to an intrinsic superiority of the duplex over the antisense strand used alone rather than being do the greater nuclease stability of duplex RNA vs single stranded RNA when such compounds are transfected into cells using Lipofectamine 2000. (Such transfection agents are known to provide a degree of nuclease protection for RNA.) They demonstrated the intrinsic superiority of the duplex by showing that if cells were sequentially transfected with sense strands and followed by transfection with the complementary antisense strand that the activity was significantly higher that what was seen when the antisense RNA strand was used alone. This would not have occurred if the first strand to be transfected had been degraded.
  • A key feature of the present invention are methods for designing sense and antisense RNA (RNA analogs) that have sufficient nuclease resistance to be administered in vivo as naked compounds (no protective carrier) and survive at least long enough to enter cells and to be present for combining with their subsequently administered complementary partner while at the same time being able to function as RNAi after forming a duplex. This ability which provides for in vivo applications which were not achievable based on Xu et al..
  • Accordingly, the present invention provides compositions and methods that largely overcome the in vivo uptake problems that are widely recognized as the single greatest obstacle to the broad use of exogenously administered RNAi for purposes such as the treatment of medical conditions, advancing the understanding of functional genomics and drug target validation studies.
  • In brief, the present inventor has made the surprising discovery that the individual complementary antisense and sense stands can be sequentially administered to cells, taken up by the cells and then form the active dsRNA agent within the cells that subsequently fulfills the intended function of suppressing the expression of the particular gene to which the antisense strand is directed. Thus, the administered sense and antisense oligo strands come to function as passenger and guide strands respectively inside of cells. This method can be applied to many functional siRNA sequences (such as but not limited to those described in PCT/US09/02365). Such sequences, however, typically must be combined with methods that render the resulting individual oligo strands sufficiently stable with respect to nuclease attack under the conditions they are being administered. Thus, this method provides a generally applicable method for achieving RNAi activity in vivo using compounds in the form of complementary sense and antisense oligos in numerous cell and tissue types without the necessity of having a carrier or the use of potentially traumatic methods such as hydrodynamic injection. This method is also generally useful for increasing the activity of single oligo strands that have ss-siRNA activity.
  • When the method is applied in vitro, carriers for the individual strands are needed for most cell lines. However, when freshly obtained tissue samples are contacted, carriers frequently can be avoided. The smaller size of the individual sense and antisense strands compared to dsRNA, reduces the burden on the cell penetrating peptide (CPP) and/or other carriers and thus allows for more efficient delivery of individual strands when compared to dsRNA, and for the use of a broader range of carriers reducing the likelihood of carrier induced side effects.
  • The present invention also provides for compositions that can be utilized with the novel methods provided for herein. Specifically, the said compositions include the following: (1) sense strands that can be administered as single stranded agents to cells in vitro or in vivo and subsequently bind to the corresponding antisense strand intracellularly where they combine to form an RNAi structure capable of promoting the suppression of the gene target; and (2) antisense strands that can be administered as single stranded agents to cells in vitro or in vivo and subsequently loaded into RISC either being presented to RISC as a dsRNA with its sense strand partner or as a ss-siRNA Such RNA strands can be appropriately modified relative to the native RNA for in vivo use and typically but not necessarily modified for in vitro use.
  • B. Definitions
  • The following definitions and terms are provided to facilitate an understanding of the invention.
  • “Antisense oligos or strands” are oligos that are complementary to sense oligos, pre-mRNA, RNA or sense strands of particular genes and which bind to such genes and gene products by means of base pairing. When binding to a sense oligo, the antisense oligo need not base pair with every nucleoside in the sense oligo. All that is necessary is that there be sufficient binding to provide for a Tm of greater than or equal to 40° C. under physiologic salt conditions at submicromolar oligo concentrations.
  • “Sense oligos or strands” are oligos that are complementary to antisense oligos or antisense strands of particular genes and which bind to such genes and gene products by means of base pairing. When binding to an antisense oligo, the sense oligo need not base pair with every nucleoside in the antisense oligo. All that is necessary is that there be sufficient binding to provide for a Tm of greater than or equal to 40° C. under physiologic salt conditions at submicromolar oligo concentrations.
  • “Conventional antisense oligos” are single stranded oligos that inhibit the expression of the targeted gene by one of the following mechanisms: (1) steric hindrance—e.g., the antisense oligo interferes with some step in the sequence of events leading to gene expression resulting in protein production by directly interfering with the step. For example, the antisense oligo may bind to a region of the RNA transcript of the gene that includes a start site for translation which is most often an AUG sequence (other possibilities are GUG, UUG, CUG, AUA, ACG and CUG) and as a result of such binding, the initiation of translation is inhibited; (2) Induction of enzymatic digestion of the RNA transcripts of the targeted gene by RNase H. RNase H recognizes DNA/RNA or certain DNA analog/RNA duplexes (not all oligos that are DNA analogs will support RNase H activity) and digests the RNA adjacent to the DNA or DNA analog hybridized to it; (3) Induction of enzymatic digestion of the RNA transcripts of the targeted gene by RNase L; (4) Induction of enzymatic digestion of the RNA transcripts of the targeted gene by RNase P: (5) Induction of enzymatic digestion of the RNA transcripts of the targeted gene by double stranded RNase. Double stranded RNase recognizes RNA/RNA or certain RNA analog/RNA duplexes (not all oligos that are RNA analogs will support RNase H activity) and digests the gene target transcript adjacent to the antisense RNA or RNA analog containing oligo hybridized to it; and (6) combined steric hindrance and the capability for inducing gene target transcript digestion.
  • “Native RNA” is naturally occurring RNA (i.e., RNA with normal C, G, U and A bases, ribose sugar and phosphodiester linkages).
  • “RNAi” or RNA-mediated interference (or just RNA interference) makes use of cellular mechanisms involved in processing of endogenous RNAi. In brief, this mechanism includes the loading of an antisense oligo often referred to as a “guide strand” into a molecular complex called the RNA-induced silencing complex (“RISC”). The guide strand then directs the resultant RISC entity to its binding site on the target gene RNA transcript. Once bound, the RISC directs cleavage of the RNA target by an argonaute enzyme or in the alternative, translation may be inhibited by a steric hindrance mechanism. In a variant manifestation, the RISC may be directed to the gene itself where it can play an inhibitor function. Such exogenously supplied RNAi conventionally has been administered in one of three forms. These are the following: (a) dicer substrates, (b) double stranded siRNA (siRNA) and (c) single stranded siRNA (ss-siRNA). With the exception of ss-siRNA, RNAi is a double stranded structure with one or more so-called passenger strand(s) hybridized to the guide strand.
  • For convenience, the monomers comprising the oligo sequences will be termed herein “nucleotides” or “nucleosides” but it is to be understood that the normal sugar moiety (deoxyribose or ribose) and/or the normal base (adenine, guanine, thymine, cytosine and uracil) moieties may be substantially modified or even replaced by functionally similar analogs, for example, the normal sugar may have a fluorine inserted in the 2′ position or be entirely replaced by a different ring structure as is the case with piperazine or morpholino oligos. Further, in particular embodiments, the nucleotides or nucleosides within an oligo sequence may be abasic. In addition, the linkers between the monomers will often be varied from the normal phosphodiester structure and can include one or more of several other possibilities depending on such considerations as the need for nuclease resistance, high target sequence binding affinity, pharmacokinetics and preferential uptake by particular cell types. The alternating linker/sugar or sugar substitute structure of oligos is referred to as the “backbone” while the normal bases or their substitutes occur as appendages to the backbone.
  • “Cell penetrating peptides” (CPPs) are peptides that promote cell penetration of molecules to which they are attached. CPPs may be naturally occurring protein domains or they may be designed based on the naturally occurring versions. CPPs typically share a high density of basic charges and are usually 6-30 amino acids in length. CPPs useful in the single and double stranded oligos of the invention are described further hereinbelow. “Endosomolytic and lysosomotropic agents” are agents that can be used in combination with an oligo to promote its release from endosomes, lysosomes or phagosomes. The former are agents that are attached to oligos or incorporated into particular oligo delivery systems while the latter agents may be so attached or incorporated or be administered as separate agents from, but in conjunction with, any such oligo used with, or without, a delivery system. Lysosomotropic agents have other desirable properties and can exhibit antimicrobial activity.
  • “Endosomolytic agent” refers to an agent that possesses at least endosomal lytic activity. In certain embodiments, an endosomal lytic moiety also exhibits lysosomolytic, phagosomolytic or lysosmotropic activity.
  • A “specific binding pair” comprises a specific binding member and a binding partner that have a particular specificity for each other and which in normal conditions bind to each other in preference to other molecules. Such members and binding partners are also referred to as targeting molecules herein. Examples of specific binding pairs include but are not limited to ligands and receptor, antigens and antibodies, and complementary nucleic acid molecules. The skilled person is aware of many other examples. Further the term “specific binding pair” is also applicable to where either or both of the specific binding pair member and the binding partner comprise a part of a larger molecule.
  • “Tm” or melting temperature is the midpoint of the temperature range over which the oligo separates from the target nucleotide sequence. At this temperature, 50% helical (hybridized) versus coiled (unhybridized) forms are present. Tm is measured by using the UV spectrum to determine the formation and breakdown (melting) of hybridization. Tm can be determined using techniques that are well known in the art. There are also formulas available for estimating Tm on the basis of sequence and common chemical modifications if any.
  • “Gene target” or “target gene” refers to either the DNA sequence of a gene or its RNA transcript (processed or unprocessed) that is targeted by any given RNAi for suppression of the expression of the gene in question.
  • A “stem cell” is a rare cell type in the body that exhibits a capacity for self-renewal. Specifically when a stem cell divides the resulting daughter cells are either committed to undergoing a particular differentiation program (along with any progeny) or they are a replica of the parent cell. In other words, the replica cells are not committed to undergo a differentiation program. When the division of a stem cell produces daughter cells that are replicas of the parent cell, the division is called “self-renewal.” Accordingly, stem cells are able to function as the cellular source material for the maintenance and/or expansion of a particular tissue or cell type.
  • There are many types of stem cells and often any given type exists in a hierarchy with respect to the differentiation potential of any daughter cells committed to undergoing a differentiation program. For example, a more primitive hematopoietic stem cell could have the capacity to produce committed daughter cells that in turn have the capacity to give rise to progeny that include any myelopoietic cell type while a less primitive hematopoietic stem cell might be only capable of producing committed daughter cells that can give rise to monocytes and granulocytes.
  • Induced pluripotent (iPS or iPSC) stem cells” are created (induced) from somatic cells by human manipulation. Such manipulation has typically involved the use of expression vectors to cause altered (increased or decreased) expression of certain genes in the somatic cells. “Pluripotent” refers to the fact that such stem cells can produce daughter cells committed to one of several possible differentiation programs.
  • “dsRNA” refers to a ribonucleic acid based oligo having a duplex structure comprising two anti-parallel oligos with sufficient complementarity between adjacent bases on opposite strands to have a Tm of greater than or equal to 40° C. under physiologic salt conditions and submicromolar oligo concentrations. In a variant design one oligo may be hybridized to two complementary strands where the former acts as the guide stand and the latter as passenger strands in an RNAi agent.
  • “Upstream” and “Downstream” respectively refer to moving along a nucleotide strand in a 3′ to 5′ direction or a 5′ to 3′ direction.
  • “Introducing into” means uptake or absorption in the cell, as is understood by those skilled in the art. Absorption or uptake of oligos can occur through cellular processes, or via the use of auxiliary agents or devices.
  • A “two-step administration or method” is where cells are treated with one strand of a complementary sense and antisense oligo pair and after cellular uptake of this strand, the cells are treated with the other strand in a manner that also provides for its uptake into the cells. The two strands then form a functional RNAi duplex intracellularly to inhibit target gene expression in the cells containing the RNAi duplex. In a variant of the two-step method a conventional antisense oligo is administered first followed by the administration of a complementary sense oligo with the intent of blocking the activity of the antisense oligo.
  • The term “identity” as used herein and as known in the art, is the relationship between two or more oligo sequences, and is determined by comparing the sequences. Identity also means the degree of sequence relatedness between oligo sequences, as determined by the match between strings of such sequences. Identity can be readily calculated (see, e.g., Computation Molecular Biology, Lesk, A. M., eds., Oxford University Press, New York (1998), and Biocomputing: Informatics and Genome Projects, Smith, D. W., ed., Academic Press, New York (1993), both of which are incorporated by reference herein). While a number of methods to measure identity between two polynucleotide sequences are available, the term is well known to skilled artisans (see, e.g., Sequence Analysis in Molecular Biology, von Heinje, G., Academic Press (1987); and Sequence Analysis Primer, Gribskovm, M. and Devereux, J., eds., M. Stockton Press, New York (1991)). Methods commonly employed to determine identity between oligo sequences include, for example, those disclosed in Carillo, H., and Lipman, D., Siam J. Applied Math. (1988) 48:1073.
  • “Substantially identical,” as used herein, means there is a very high degree of homology preferably >90% sequence identity.
  • As used herein, the term “treatment” refers to the application or administration of a single or double stranded oligo(s) or other therapeutic agent to a patient, or application or administration of an oligo or other drug to an isolated tissue or cell line from a patient, who has a medical condition, e.g., a disease or disorder, a symptom of disease, or a predisposition toward a disease, with the purpose to cure, heal, alleviate, relieve, alter, remedy, ameliorate, improve, or affect the disease, the symptoms of disease, or the predisposition toward disease. In an alternative embodiment, tissues or cells or cell lines from a normal donor may also be “treated”.
  • As used herein, the terms “modulate”, “modulating” or “modulation” refer to changing the rate at which a particular process occurs, inhibiting a particular process, reversing a particular process, and/or preventing the initiation of a particular process. Accordingly, if the particular process is tumor growth or metastasis, the term “modulation” includes, without limitation, decreasing the rate at which tumor growth and/or metastasis occurs; inhibiting tumor growth and/or metastasis; reversing tumor growth and/or metastasis (including tumor shrinkage and/or eradication) and/or preventing tumor growth and/or metastasis.
  • A “pharmaceutical composition” comprises a pharmacologically effective amount of a single or double stranded oligo(s), optionally other drug(s), and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. As used herein, “pharmacologically effective amount,” “therapeutically effective amount” or simply “effective amount” refers to that amount of an agent effective to produce a commercially viable pharmacological, therapeutic, preventive or other commercial result.
  • “Pharmaceutically acceptable carrier” refers to a carrier or diluent for administration of a therapeutic agent. Pharmaceutically acceptable carriers for therapeutic use are well known in the pharmaceutical art, and are described, for example, in Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences, AR Gennaro (editor), 18th edition, 1990, Mack Publishing, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein. Such carriers include, but are not limited to, saline, buffered saline, dextrose, water, glycerol, ethanol, and combinations thereof. The term specifically excludes cell culture medium. For drugs administered orally, pharmaceutically acceptable carriers include, but are not limited to pharmaceutically acceptable excipients such as inert diluents, disintegrating agents, binding agents, lubricating agents, sweetening agents, flavoring agents, coloring agents and preservatives. Suitable inert diluents include sodium and calcium carbonate, sodium and calcium phosphate, and lactose, while corn starch and alginic acid are suitable disintegrating agents. Binding agents may include starch and gelatin, while the lubricating agent, if present, will generally be magnesium stearate, stearic acid or talc. If desired, the tablets may be coated with a material such as glyceryl monostearate or glyceryl distearate, to delay absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. The compounds of the invention may also be admixed, encapsulated, conjugated or otherwise associated with other molecules, molecule structures or mixtures of compounds, as for example, liposomes, receptor targeted molecules, oral, rectal, topical or other formulations, for assisting in uptake, distribution and/or absorption. Representative United States patents that teach the preparation of such uptake, distribution and/or absorption assisting formulations include, but are not limited to, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,108,921; 5,354,844; 5,416,016; 5,459,127; 5,521,291; 5,543,158; 5,547,932; 5,583,020; 5,591,721; 4,426,330; 4,534,899; 5,013,556; 5,108,921; 5,213,804; 5,227,170; 5,264,221; 5,356,633; 5,395,619; 5,416,016; 5,417,978; 5,462,854; 5,469,854; 5,512,295; 5,527,528; 5,534,259; 5,543,152; 5,556,948; 5,580,575; and 5,595,756. The single or double stranded oligos of the present invention encompass any pharmaceutically acceptable salts, esters, or salts of such esters, or any other compound which, upon administration to an animal including a human, is capable of providing (directly or indirectly) the biologically active metabolite or residue thereof. Accordingly, for example, prodrugs and pharmaceutically acceptable salts of the compounds of the invention, pharmaceutically acceptable salts of such prodrugs, and other bioequivalents are also encompassed by the present invention. In addition, single stranded oligos may be formulated for oral delivery (Tillman et al., J Pharm Sci 97: 225, 2008; Raoof et al., J Pharm Sci 93: 1431, 2004; Raoof et al., Eur J Pharm Sci 17: 131, 2002; U.S. Pat. No. 6,747,014; US 2003/0040497; US 2003/0083286; US 2003/0124196; US 2003/0176379; US 2004/0229831; US 2005/0196443; US 2007/0004668; US 2007/0249551; WO 02/092616; WO 03/017940; WO 03/018134; WO 99/60012). Such formulations may incorporate one or more permeability enhancers such as sodium caprate that may be incorporated into an enteric-coated dosage form with the oligo.
  • C. The Embodiments
  • In one embodiment, complementary sense and antisense oligo compounds are administered to cells or organisms in a two-step procedure (two-step administration or method) whereby one strand is administered to and taken up by a cell expressing the gene target, followed by administration of the second complementary strand which binds to the first strand to form a double stranded RNAi compound intracellularly, thereby triggering inhibition of gene target expression.
  • In a related embodiment, complementary sense and antisense oligo compounds are administered to cells or organisms in a two-step procedure whereby the antisense strand of a conventional antisense oligo is administered to and taken up by a cell expressing the gene target, followed by administration of the second complementary sense strand which binds to the first strand to form an inactive duplex; the effect being the inactivation of the antisense activity.
  • In another related embodiment, methods and designs are provided for modifying known functional double stranded RNAi molecules such that they are more broadly suitable for use in the two-step administration method described above. In particular these methods and designs provide for the creation of novel complementary sense and antisense strands that can be individually delivered to cells. Specifically, the modifications described provide increased nuclease resistance thereby facilitating use of the two-step method inhibition of target gene expression in cells without the necessity of having an additional component, such as a carrier, that provides increased nuclease resistance. Such reconfigured compounds have the following properties: (1) they are comprised of individual strands with sufficient nuclease resistance to withstand administration as single strands; (2) they are capable of forming a duplex intracellularly with their partner strand; and (3) the duplex formed intracellularly exhibits enhanced gene target modulatory function relative to effects seen when the strands are administered alone or compared to conventional siRNA directed to the same gene target. The chemical modifications to oligos provided by these methods and designs are not ones that must be reversed intracellularly in order for the individual strands to be able to form a duplex with their partner strands and/or subsequently function as a RNAi compound. This feature provides an advantage in that the compounds provided herein are not dependent on cell to cell variations in the ability of cells or cell products to process the strands into their functional forms.
  • In still another related embodiment, the nuclease resistance of one, or both, of the individual strands (sense and antisense) is further increased by designing or selecting strand(s) having the potential to form hair pins in accordance with the methods and designs provided herein. This approach has the advantage of allowing for less chemical modification in the central region of the strands. This can improve gene target suppressor activity in some circumstances. For example, the region of the antisense strand that is adjacent to the argonaute 2 cleavage site of the target is particularly adversely sensitive, with respect to its ability to induce argonaute 2 activity, to many types of chemical modifications that improve nuclease sensitivity. Thus, the use of a hair pin can provide a means of protecting that region of the strand allowing for less chemical modification.
  • In another embodiment, the designs and methods provided herein can be used to generate complementary sense and antisense oligos that form intracellular RNAi compounds that are not modifications or reconfigurations of existing RNAi compounds. This approach can be applied to generating inhibitors of any eukaryotic gene target and for any commercial purpose where RNAi is a suitable technology. In a preferred version of this embodiment the antisense strand that ultimately functions as RNAi after combining with its partner strand is directed to a hot spot in gene target transcripts where the hot spot is determined using the hotspots and methods for identifying hotspots described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,517,644. A related embodiment comprises the sense and antisense oligos as compositions of matter that form the functional RNAi in cells as well as the dsRNA composition of matter that results from the duplexing of such oligos and that result from the methods described herein.
  • In another embodiment, the present invention provides the means to convert active conventional antisense oligos to compounds with RNAi activity, when combined with a sense oligo partner, without the accompanying problem of inadequate uptake very frequently seen with the administration of double stranded RNAi compounds.
  • The present invention also provides methods and designs applicable to adapting conventional antisense oligos for use as the antisense strand in the two-step method that obviate many of the requirements imposed by the many algorithms well known in the art that have been developed to select active conventional RNAi compounds. This approach confers a number of new useful features to conventional antisense oligos that include but are not limited to: (1) extending the duration of inhibition of gene target expression; (2) extending the range of cell types in which conventional antisense oligos with an RNase H mechanism of action are active since many cells have inadequate levels of RNase H to support a robust antisense response based on this mechanism; (3) increasing the activity level of conventional antisense oligos with a steric hindrance mechanism of action, as RNAi typically have a catalytic activity whereby a given guide strand loaded into a RISC complex can lead to the successive cleavage of RNA transcripts of the gene target.
  • Conversely, in another embodiment, the antisense strands useful for the creation of RNAi agents in cells can be reconfigured as conventional antisense oligos as discussed herein and as summarized in Table 1.
  • In other embodiments, specific compositions of matter, based on the designs and properties just mentioned are provided for a number of gene targets including those listed in Table 2. While these sense and antisense compositions of matter are designed for administration as individual strands they can also be administered as a duplex with or without a carrier. The importance of such administrations includes but is not limited to mechanism of action studies where, for example, the relative efficiencies of duplex verses sequential single strand administration are compared. In addition, the double stranded RNAi compositions of the present invention and their administration to cells provide advantages over their conventional RNAi counter parts in addition to their delivery advantages, including but not limited, to the advantage of more prolonged activity.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the sense strand that is destined to become a passenger strand is administered first followed by the antisense strand destined to become a guide strand when duplexed with its partner within cells. Alternatively, the sense strand can be administered as two oligos that form a contiguous duplex with the antisense strand.
  • In yet another embodiment the antisense strand has significant ss-siRNA activity which is substantially enhanced when it forms a duplex with a complementary sense strand and where such strands are administered by the two-step method.
  • In a related embodiment, each of the individual complementary strands administered by the two-step method lack sufficient RNAi activity of their own to produce the desired commercial result such as the treatment of a medical condition. These strands only gain sufficient RNAi activity after they form an intracellular duplex with each other.
  • In another embodiment, methods and designs are provided that can be used to modify existing or newly developed double stranded or single stranded RNAi to provide sufficient nuclease resistance and RNAi activity suitable for use in accordance with the novel methods just described. In still another embodiment, the novel ss-siRNA disclosed can be used in vitro or in vivo without a second strand. In yet another embodiment carriers are provided that are useful for the purposes described herein.
  • The two-step administration and the oligo compounds provided can be used in vitro or in vivo. In general, a carrier will be required for the efficient introduction of each individual strand into cell lines grown in vitro. Such carriers can provide protection against nucleases which are typically less problematic for in vitro uses. The methods and designs provided herein provide the option for less stringently modified oligos capable of providing intracellular RNAi activity for in vitro and/or carrier associated use. Indeed, the strands of many conventional RNAi compounds can be delivered by the two-step administration in vitro or in vivo when a carrier or other delivery mechanism is used. Specifically, the use of conventional RNAi (that is RNAi with a native RNA structure or minimal chemical modification defined as the individual strands having a half life of less than two hours in the relevant biological fluids such as plasma) will require the concomitant use of a carrier that protects the single strands from nuclease attack long enough that they can penetrate cells and form a duplex with their partner strand so that they can function as RNAi within cells. The principle advantage of the two-step administration for carrier associated in vitro or in vivo use is that it reduces the burden on the carrier or other delivery method and thus allows a more efficient and a less traumatic transfer of the oligo components of RNAi agents into cells.
  • The principle advantage of the two-step administration method is that for in vivo use in most instances, a carrier or other mechanism such as hydrodynamic injection will not be needed. This is a substantial improvement over the prior art where poor in vivo uptake of RNAi compounds by the majority of cell types is a great problem. Further, the enhanced nuclease stability of the compounds provided for herein for use in vivo use also provide for extended activity in cells. The present approach is surprisingly robust in being applicable to many gene targets, commercial applications and established RNAi compounds.
  • Carriers or other uptake mechanisms may be desirable for use in promoting the uptake of individual strands in vivo in accordance with the two-step administration method in certain circumstances including the following: (1) situations where a carrier is used to direct the oligos to particular types of cells to the exclusion of others, for example, to reduce side effects by avoiding tissues involved in such side effects by means of a carrier not well suited for delivering molecules to the non-suitable tissues; (2) situations involving cells that are sequestered behind natural barriers to charged molecules in the size range of 16-30-mer oligonucleotides including but not limited to the central nervous system, the testis and the interior of the eye; (3) where the RNAi is a dicer substrate that of necessity must be subject to a nuclease attack that will convert the dicer substrate into siRNA intracellularly and as a result may require the added nuclease protection that can be provided by some carriers; and (4) in addition to increasing nuclease resistance certain carriers, such as cholesterol (cholesterol also can be linked to the 3′-end of a passenger or guide strand using a variety of know linkers such as pyrrolidine), may also be used to prolong the half-life of the oligos in serum by promoting binding to plasma proteins and, thereby, reducing the rate of renal clearance. This can also be achieved by using a predominance of phosphorothioate linkages in a given strand. These methods provide more time for tissue uptake of individual strands to occur.
  • D. Methods for Reconfiguring Guide Strands for Use as Conventional Antisense Oligos
  • Guide or antisense strands that have been configured for use in the present invention can also be reconfigured as conventional antisense oligos. The details of the reconfiguration will depend on the desired mechanism of action, the level of nuclease resistance required and on the commercial goal of the treatment. These same types of considerations are also important when choosing an RNAi vs. conventional antisense oligo approach. One such mechanism of action requires RNase H activity. Stem cells possess sufficient RNAase H levels to support the action of conventional antisense oligos dependent on this activity. However, levels of RNAse H activity can be reduced in more differentiated cells to levels that are insufficient (Crooke, ST (1995) Therapeutics Applications of Oligonucleotides, pp. 1-25, RG Landes Publishers, Austin Tx). An established way to gain susceptibility to RNase H action is to produce oligos which are gapmers wherein the central nucleosides in the oligo have deoxyribose as the preferred sugar moiety, combined with a linkage such as boranophosphate or phosphorothioate that can support RNase H when used as part of a DNA analog. LNA, FANA or 2′fluoro gapmer oligos are preferably 16-22mers with phosphorothioate or boranophosphate linkages and a 4-18 nucleoside core flanked by sequences that do not readily support RNase H activity (those containing LNA, FANA or 2′fluoro containing nucleosides) wherein flanking sequences are no more than two nucleosides different in length. The 4-18 nucleoside core uses normal deoxyribose or a suitable analog as the sugar that will support RNase H cleavage of the target RNA to which the oligo is hybridized. Phosphodiester linkages also may be used for in vitro applications where nuclease activity is reduced. Most preferred are 20-mer 2′fluoro gapmers with an 8 nucleoside core and phosphorothioate linkages throughout as illustrated below. The lower case “x”s represent different bases (A, G, U/T or C comprising deoxyribose sugars) that are part of a series of linked nucleosides while the uppercase “X”s represent nucleosides with 2′fluoro modifications to the sugar. The ˜ symbol represents nuclease resistant linkages including, without limitation phosphorothioate or boranophosphate. RNA analogs (e.g., 2′fluoro) oligos are typically but not necessarily produced using uracil rather than thymine bases.
  • 5′-X~X~X~X~X~X~x~x~x~x~x~x~x~x~X~X~X~X~X~X-3′
  • Variant gapmers with sugars containing 2′-O-methyl, 2′-O-ethyl, 2′-O-methoxyethoxy or 2′-O-methoxyethyl groups in the flanking sequences can also be used but are less preferred than LNA, FANA or 2′fluoro modifications with the 2′fluoro modification being most preferred. In addition to the documents provided above, synthetic processes for generating oligos with variable combinations of nucleoside linkages including, but not limited to phosphodiester, phosphorothioate, phosphoramidate and boranophosphate including those for promoting RNase H activity against the RNA target are also presented in WO2004/044136, WO0047593, WO0066609, WO0123613, U.S. Pat. No. 6,207,819 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,462,184.
  • In another approach to improve the ability of conventional antisense oligos to promote RNase H activity against their target, nucleosides with certain base modifications can be inserted at a single position near the center (within 4 nucleosides of either the 5′ or 3′ end) of oligos that do not significantly support RNase H activity such as FANA, LNA, 2′fluoro or piperazine oligos. In addition, such nucleosides can be placed at the junction between a series of RNA or RNA-analog nucleoside and a series of DNA or DNA analog nucleosides making up an oligo (such as occurs in oligos with a gapmer design) with insufficient RNase H activity in order to further promote this activity. This approach can be applied, for example, to FANA, LNA, 2′fluoro, 2′-O-methyl, 2′-O-ethyl 2′-O-methoxyethoxy or 2′-O-methoxyethyl gapmer antisense oligos. The promotion of RNase H activity by this means appears to be due to added flexibility to the strand that is needed for promoting RNase H activity without interfering with the recognition of the oligo:RNA hybrid as a suitable substrate. The specific base modifications that can be used for this purpose and inserted either at gapmer junctions or near the center of the oligo are selected from the group consisting 4′-C-hydroxymethyl-DNA, 3′-C-hydroxymethyl-ANA, or piperazino-functionalized C3′, 02′-linked-ANA where ANA refers to an arabinonucleic acid. Modified nucleotides or nucleotides that can be inserted at gapmer junctions for the purpose of promoting RNase H activity are selected from the group consisting of 2′fluro-arabinonucleotides, abasic, tetrahydrofuran (THF).
  • Conventional antisense oligos can also be configured to support the activity of double stranded RNases. Such oligos are described in Wu et al., J Biol Chem 273: 2532, 1998, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,898,031; 6,737,512; 7,491,524; 7,432,249; 7,432,250; and 2004/0191773. Wu et al. (J Biol Chem 275: 36957, 2000) have cloned a human double stranded RNase (RNase III) capable of supporting this mechanism of action for conventional antisense oligos. The enzyme is ubiquitously expressed in the nucleus in human tissues and cell lines.
  • One of numerous oligo designs disclosed in the literature capable of supporting double strand RNase activity makes use of the gapmer design and a small subset have been tested by Wu et al., 1998 (vide supra). In this design, a set of at least four contiguous nucleosides and linkages which together support double stranded RNase activity against gene target transcripts are flanked on both sides by nucleosides and linkages that do not support such activity but do provide other advantages such as increased affinity for the target transcript. Wu et al. tested the ability of a series of gapmers to suppress mutated Harvey Ras expression in T24 cells. All the linkages were phosphorothioate and the central nucleosides contained native ribose while the two flanking regions contained 2′methyoxy modified ribose. Seventeen-mer oligos with 5, 7 or 9 native ribose nucleoside centers as well as those with just native ribose were active in supporting double stranded RNase activity against the gene target. Oligos with 3 native ribose nucleoside centers were not active. Oligos where the linkages between the nucleosides with native ribose were replaced with phosphodiester linkages were cleaved along with the gene target confirming the RNase involved was a double strand RNase.
  • A third mechanism whereby conventional antisense oligos can inhibit the expression of a particular gene is through steric hindrance which is applicable to any cell type. RNA and DNA target sites suitable for conventional antisense oligo attack of this type include (1) primary and secondary translational start sites; (2) 5′-end untranslated sites involved in ribosomal assembly; and (3) sites involved in the splicing of pre-mRNA. A primary translational start site is the one most often used by a particular cell or tissue type. A secondary translational start site is one that is used less often by a particular cell or tissue type. The use of the latter may be determined by natural cellular processes or may be the result of inhibition of the use of the primary translational start site such as would occur when the such cells are treated with an oligo directed to the primary translational start site in question. Thus, when taking this approach, the complete inhibition of the expression of a particular gene could require the use of two or more oligos where one is directed to the primary translational start site and one or more additional oligos are directed to secondary translational start sites.
  • Oligo backbone configurations that demonstrate particularly high binding affinities to the target (measured by melting temperature or Tm) are preferred for implementing the steric hindrance mechanism. LNA, FANA, 2′-fluoro, morpholino and piperazine containing backbones are particularly well suited for this purpose. Most preferred are 22-mer 2′fluoro oligos with phosphorothioate linkages throughout as illustrated below. The “x”s represent different bases (A, G, U/T or C) that are part of a series of linked nucleosides with 2′fluoro modifications to the sugar. The ˜ symbol represents nuclease resistant linkages, such as phosphorothioate, phosphordiaminidate, boranophosphate and others well know in the art. In RNA analogs 2′fluoro oligos typically, but not necessarily, are produced with uracil rather than thymine bases.
  • 5′-X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X-3′
  • Phosphorothioate linkages typically lead to a reduction in binding affinity with the target RNA but they may improve pharmacokinetics of an oligo by causing it to bind to plasma proteins. The potential pharmacokinetic advantages provided by these linkages, however, are not necessary in the case of backbones containing morpholino or piperazine substitutions for the sugar.
  • In the case of oligos with other nucleoside chemistries and linkages than phosphorothioate, or boranophosphate, plasma protein binding, however, can be improved by covalently attaching to it, or to a carrier associated with it, a molecule that binds a plasma protein such as serum albumin. Such molecules include, but are not limited, to an arylpropionic acid, for example, ibuprofen, suprofen, ketoprofen, pranoprofen, tiaprofenic acid, naproxen, flurpibrofen and carprofen (U.S. Pat. No. 6,656,730).
  • Morpholino oligos are commercially available from Gene Tools LLC. Morpholino oligo characteristics and synthesis include but are not limited to those presented in the following: Summerton and Weller, Antisense Nucleic Acid Drug Dev 7: 187, 1997; Summerton, Biochim Biophys Acta 1489: 141, 1999; Iversen, Curr Opin Mol Ther 3: 235, 2001; U.S. Pat. No. 6,784,291, U.S. Pat. No. 5,185,444, U.S. Pat. No. 5,378,841, U.S. Pat. No. 5,405,938, U.S. Pat. No. 5,034,506, U.S. Pat. No. 5,142,047, U.S. Pat. No. 5,235,033. Morpholino oligos for the purposes of the present invention may have the uncharged and/or at least one cationic linkage between the nucleoside analogs made up of a morpholino ring and a normal base (guanine, uracil, thymine, cytosine or adenine) or a unnatural base as described herein. The preferred linkage for morpholino oligos is phosphorodiamidate which is an uncharged linkage. In some embodiments it may be modified as discussed below to provide a positive charge.
  • Since the steric hindrance mechanism is not dependent on RNase H activity, oligos which function via this mechanism have the potential to be active in cells where RNase H levels are too low to adequately support conventional antisense oligo functions requiring this activity. Stem cells and early progenitor cells have adequate levels of RNase H for this purpose while cells that have differentiated beyond the stem or progenitor cell stage typically do not. When functional, however, oligos that support the RNase H based mechanism have the potential advantage over steric hindrance based mechanism of working catalytically since the same oligo is capable of inactivating numerous target RNA molecules. As discussed elsewhere herein, it is also possible to modify LNA, FANA, 2′-fluoro, morpholino and piperazine containing backbones to enable or increase their potential to catalyze the cleavage of their target RNA by RNase H by inserting certain linkers, acyclic nucleosides or by using the gapmer approach. Thus, conventional antisense oligos with both potent steric hindrance and RNase H promoting activity can be generated and used for the practice of this invention.
  • TABLE 1
    Reconfiguration of Guide Strands For Use As Conventional Antisense Oligos
    POTENTIAL FEATURES OF GUIDE STRAND TO BE MODIFIED
    MISMATCHES RNase H
    AS OLIGO URACIL WITH GENE SUPPORTING OVER
    MECHANISM THYMINE HAIR PIN TARGET DESIGN HANGS
    RNase H Thymine Not required for Preferably Required Preferably
    required in nuclease removed removed
    RNase H resistance
    supporting
    region
    Double-stranded Uracil required Required when Preferably Not required Preferably
    RNase in double double strand removed removed
    strand RNase RNase unless
    supporting supporting involved in
    region region is not generating a
    nuclease potential
    resistant hair pin
    where one is
    required
    Steric Hindrance Uracil Not required for Preferably Not required Preferably
    preferred for nuclease removed removed
    RNA or RNA- resistance
    analogs -
    Thymine
    preferred for
    DNA or DNA-
    analogs
  • E. Methods for Design, Production and Synthesis of the Oligos of the Invention
  • Any functional double strand dicer substrates or single or double strand siRNA sequences can be used for the practice of this invention. They may be found in the prior art (such as but not limited to those described in PCT/US09/02365) or may be designed using the design parameters set forth herein. Reconfiguration of a number of specific sequences is exemplified herein. Most commonly such functional RNAi will inhibit the expression of the target gene by causing the degradation of its RNA transcripts. Alternatively, RNAi can also promote translation arrest or directly inhibit the expression of the target gene. The examples and illustrations provided involve siRNA but it is to be understood that such siRNA may be derived from dicer substrates that will be processed to the siRNA form by intracellularly. It is also to be understood that the antisense strands in the designs provided for use in the present invention can also be used as ss-siRNA which are up to 30-mers in length in contrast to double stranded RNAi longer than 23-24mers in length that are shortened by an enzyme before being loaded into RISC. Most preferred are compounds that meet the design requirements provided herein that allow for in vivo administration of the individual strands of a complementary sense and antisense oligo pair according to the two-step administration method. Employment of the two-step method, particularly when combined with the design principles provided herein, can be used to increase cellular uptake and effectiveness when compared to the single step administration method of conventional duplexed siRNA.
  • Modifications:
  • The basic requirements primarily to be considered for compositions of matter suitable for use in the present invention are (1) the individual oligo strands of the agents must be sufficiently stable with respect to nuclease attack that they have the potential to fulfill their intended intracellular RNAi function; and (2) any modifications made to the native RNA structure must be consistent with the maintenance of the RNAi function. The three principle factors that affect nuclease resistance of individual strands are the following: (1) the chemical structure of the nucleoside particularly with respect to the ribose: (2) the nature of the intemucleoside linkages; and (3) the presence or absence of a hair pin.
  • The problem of nuclease degradation of individual oligo strands can have somewhat different solutions depending on whether the agents are to be used in vitro or in vivo and whether or not a carrier will be used as carriers often provide a degree of protection from nucleases.
  • The general problem of achieving such single strand nuclease resistance without the loss of the intended intracellular RNAi activity is consistent between in vitro vs. in vivo use but the degree of the problem is affected by parameters such as the following: (1) which strand is being modified (antisense vs. sense); (2) strand length; (3) the binding affinity (Tm) of the terminal 4 nucleosides of each end of the antisense strand (exclusive of any over hang) with the corresponding nucleosides of the sense strand in the case of compounds designed to produce intracellular double stranded RNAi with blunt ended or conventional overhangs (this language is meant to exclude designs where the sense strand does not extend far enough to pair with both ends of the antisense strand); and (4) the positioning of any covalently linked carriers or carrier components with respect to the oligos.
  • Pharmacokinetics is also an important consideration for in vivo use, however, the agents described for use with the present invention will not have dramatically different pharmacology from conventional antisense oligos except for those agents where a carrier is employed. Accordingly the structural variants discussed below will not require the development of fundamentally new pharmacologic principles.
  • One key consideration with respect to the chemical modification of oligos designed to produce an intracellular double stranded RNAi agent and the promotion of its RNAi activity is the relative Tms of the four adjacent nucleosides on each end of the duplex. The lower the relative Tm of one end with respect to the other, the higher the likelihood that the strand with its 5′-end involved in the lower Tm will be loaded into RISC and function as the guide strand. The Tm effect is not evenly distributed across the four terminal nucleosides because the most terminal is the most important with the successive nucleosides being progressively less important. Violations to this rule do not render a particular siRNA non functional but they may exhibit suboptimum activity because there will be more passenger strand loading into RISC and/or off-target effects may occur.
  • Thus, nucleosides and/or linkage modifications to complementary sense and antisense oligos that affect the terminal four nucleotides of either end of a resulting double strand RNAi agent must also be designed such that the loading of the desired antisense stand into RISC is promoted over loading of the intended sense strand. With respect to the naturally occurring bases G-C pairs on opposing strands bind more tightly than A-U pairs. Tms can be decreased through the use of mismatches, universal bases and abasic nucleosides. Tms are also affected by the nature of the linkages that bind nucleosides together. These factors are well known in the art.
  • A ranking of relative affinities between nucleosides from higher to lower typically has the following order: (1) 2′-fluoro/2′-fluoro; (2) 2′-fluoro/2′-0-methyl; (3) 2′-fluoro/native ribose; (4) 2′-0′methyl/native ribose; (5) 2′-0′methyl/2′-0-methyl. Variations can occur as a result of the nature of the adjacent nucleosides.
  • The relative Tms of the two duplexed ends of an siRNA weighted for nucleotide position can be determined as follows: (1) prepare a full length dsRNA duplex along with additional duplexes that are missing 1, 2, 3 or 4 nucleosides from either the left side or right side as shown in Prototype 1; (2) determine the change in Tm for each deletion compared to the full length siRNA; (3) weight the Tm contribution of each of the four nucleosides by multiplying the outer most by 4 the next by 3 the next by 2 and the last by 1.5 and then adding the totals; (4) the total Tm for the left side should be at least 4 degrees Centigrade higher than the total for the right side as shown in Prototype 1; and (5) make any needed adjustments in the nucleosides to achieve this asymmetry in Tm. The latter can be achieved in a number of ways as discussed herein but most preferred are changes in the distribution of 2′-fluoro and 2′-0-methyl nucleosides among the terminal four nucleosides on each end as shown in Prototype 1. Any of the novel compounds described herein, including those shown in FIGS. 3-40 may optionally comprise cytosines methylated at the C5 position.
  • Prototype 1: Tm of opposing Ends of Double Stranded siRNA
  • 6-24-mer
    dsRNA
    5′
    Figure US20150025122A1-20150122-P00001
    N-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-
    Figure US20150025122A1-20150122-P00002
     3′
    3′
    Figure US20150025122A1-20150122-P00001
    N-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-
    Figure US20150025122A1-20150122-P00002
     5′
       Higher Tm                 Lower Tm
  • Where:
      • 1) the upper strand is the passenger strand (lower Tm between its 5′-end and 3′-end of the lower guide strand compared to Tm of other end);
      • 2) I is an individual nucleoside;
      • 3) a dash (-) is an internucleoside linkage;
      • 4) N is a number of nucleosides between 0 and 10 depending on the selected strand length (16-24-mer) and where the number represents additional nucleosides in the passenger and guide strands
      • 5) the nucleosides involved in the guide strand selection process (as described in the text) are shown in bold and italics
      • 6) The addition of 1 to 4 nucleoside 5′-end or 3′-end overhangs found in some siRNA designs do not alter the preferred design illustrated in this Prototype. The composition of these overhangs does not affect the Tm requirements for the terminal duplexed regions illustrated here. Accordingly, it follows from this that in the reconfiguring of existing siRNA compounds with low Tm nucleosides (A and U) at the 3′-end of the guide stand that are adjacent to high Tm nucleosides (G and C), for example, can be converted to overhangs by deleting any corresponding low Tm nucleosides in the passenger strand so that the high Tm nucleosides are now the terminal duplexed nucleosides at the left end of the compound. Similar maneuvers can be performed on the right end of the compound, for example, where there are high Tm nucleosides (G and C) at the 3′-end of the passenger stand or 5′-end of the guide strand that are adjacent to low Tm nucleosides (A and U). This high Tm duplex can be eliminated by converting the high Tm nucleosides in one of the strands to overhangs by deleting the corresponding nucleosides in the other strand so that the low Tm nucleosides make up the terminal duplex at the right end of the compound.
      • 7) The effect of this design is to increase the proportion of intended guide strands that get loaded into RISC. There are other designs described herein that have the same goal. The designs shown in Prototype 8, for example, reduce the importance of the design consideration shown here.
  • Another key consideration with respect to the chemical modification of antisense oligos intended to function as guide strands is the position of the two nucleosides that will be adjacent to the argonaute 2 cleavage site of the target RNA (Prototype 2). These nucleosides are in positions 10 and 11 counting downstream from the 5′end of the guide strand (shown in bold in Prototype 2). Some modifications that can be tolerated other places in the guide strand or in the passenger strand are not well tolerated at this site or in the one to three adjacent nucleosides and the associated linkages on each side (underlined region in Prototype 2 that delineates 8 nucleosides and 7 linkages) with the nature of the proximal nucleosides and linkages (to the two in italics) having the most impact on the level of Argonaute 2 activity. The positions of these most sensitive sites are nucleotides 9-12 (shown in italics in Prototype 2) counting from the 5′end and their linkages. This is illustrated in the following diagram for 16-23-mers. Longer RNAi guide strands are generally limited to dicer substrates so they will be shortened by intracellular processes such that the resulting siRNA will be 21-23-mers or possibly to ss-siRNA. Ss-siRNA will have the design considerations shown in Prototype 2 while double stranded siRNA will have the design considerations in both Prototypes 1 and 2 except the double stranded siRNA designs shown in Prototype 8 and those described in Designs 1b, 2b and 3b will not have the design considerations shown in Prototype 1 (see detailed description of Prototype 8). The designs shown in Prototype 8 are most preferred for converting conventional antisense oligos to RNAi compounds because it simplifies the design constraints illustrated in Prototype 1. All of the single and double stranded siRNA designs provided herein are compatible with the hair pin designs shown in Prototypes 3 and 4.
  • Prototype 2: Guide Strand Regions Adjacent to Argonaute 2 Cleavage Site
  • 16-24-mer
    5′ I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-
    Figure US20150025122A1-20150122-P00003
    -I-I-I-I-I-N 3′
  • where:
      • 1) I is an individual nucleoside;
      • 2) dash (-) is an internucleoside linkages;
      • 3) N=0 to 10 depending on the guide strand length where the number represents additional nucleosides (in the case of ss-siRNA N=0-15 for the guide strand);
      • 4) the nucleosides adjacent to the argonaute 2 cleavage site are shown in bold and italics while the adjacent two nucleosides are shown in italics only;
      • 5) the nucleotides and linkages that can effect the activity of argonaute 2 are underlined (see Prototype 2). This region requires special consideration in the design of chemically modified RNAi as discussed elsewhere herein
  • Hair pins can be designed into oligos in a way that both promotes nuclease resistance and allows for subsequent RNAi functioning for dicer substrates, double stranded siRNA and ss-siRNA (Prototypes 3 and 4). This approach can be applied to either the sense or the antisense stand, to both or to neither. It can also be applied to ss-siRNA.
  • The hair pin approach allows a greater range of chemical modifications to the 6 nucleosides adjacent to the argonaute 2 cleavage region and to the linkages between these nucleosides. Specifically, the nuclease protection provided by the hair pin allows the chemical modifications to the 6 underlined nucleosides and their linkages (Prototype 2) to have a lower degree of nuclease resistance than would be the case without the hair pin design. Accordingly, considering the two strands of an intended RNAi duplex, the hair pin approach is most preferred for the antisense strand.
  • The higher affinity of the guide strand with its target and/or passenger strand compared to its self-interaction in the form of the hair pin provided for herein allows this approach to work. Such hair pins are most preferred for oligoribonucleotides with more than two phosphodiester linkages that are to be systemically administered without the use of a protective carrier.
  • In one version of this approach the guide or passenger strand sequence can be selected such that it forms a hair pin under physiologic conditions (pH, salt concentration and temperature) with the desired thermodynamic (free energy or Tm) properties (Prototype 3). This design, however, substantially reduces the number of suitable guide strand binding sites for any given gene target.
  • Prototype 3: General Hair Pin Design for Individual siRNA Strand Stabilization to Nuclease Attack
  • 8-24-mer
    5′ W-A-X-B-I-I-N-I-I-C-Y-D-Z 3′
  • Where:
      • 1) The strand illustrated is either a passenger or a guide strand that will form a double or single stranded siRNA; while this design can be applied to strands with overhangs these are specifically considered in Prototype 4;
      • 2) I is an individual nucleoside;
      • 3) A is a nucleoside capable of base pairing with nucleoside D and nucleoside B is capable of base pairing with nucleoside C;
      • 4) X and Y represent equal numbers of nucleosides (possibly 0) such that the pairings A:D and B:C can contribute to the formation of a hair pin under physiological conditions (other base pairs can also contribute to the formation of the hair pin Prototype and may be necessary in order to meet the free energy requirement described herein);
      • 5) W, N and Z are represent numbers of nucleosides where they are not necessarily equivalent numbers (and may be zero) such that when they are added together with all the other nucleosides in the oligo, the result is a total number between 8 and 24 where in the case of guide strands, the length will be at least 16; In the case of single passenger strands they will have a length of 12 or greater with shorter passenger strands being limited to those continuous passenger strands described in Designs 1b, 2b and 3b.
      • 6) In the case of guide strands a limited number of mismatches with the sequence of the gene target can be tolerated in certain regions of the strand. Such mismatches with the target can be used to obtain a strand with the desired hair pin characteristics. As shown in Prototype 2 nucleosides 10 and 11 counting from the 5′ end lie opposite the argonaute 2 cleavage site on the gene target RNA sequence. These nucleosides cannot have mismatches with the target and it is preferred that there be no mismatches in any of the five nucleosides on either side of these. It is also preferred that no more than one-third of the remaining nucleosides in the guide strand have mismatches with the gene target.
      • 7) there are preferably no linkages, such as phosphodiester, that are susceptible to exonuclease attack that extend beyond the hair pin particularly where the RNAi is being used in vivo and/or where there is no carrier that provides protection from nucleases
  • Greater flexibility (more gene target binding site choices) can be achieved by adjusting the one or more of the bases in the terminal 1-5 bases on the 5′ or 3′ ends of a given passenger or guide strand with up to 4 mismatches total (for both ends of the oligo) with the binding site for the target are allowed and where the result is that such changes result in the formation of a hair pin with the properties described herein. In general, the shorter the duplex the shorter the length of the terminal region that will tolerate mismatches with the target binding site. Thus, no more than two such terminal nucleosides with such mismatches are preferred for a 19-mer duplex and 5 for a 22-mer or larger duplex with no more than a total of 4 of such mismatches. Accordingly no mismatches of this type should occur in the central 14 (even numbered oligos) or 15 (odd numbered oligos) nucleosides if the objective is to achieve cleavage of the target. Mismatches in this area can lead to translational arrest of targeted mRNA or to inhibition of gene expression at the transcriptional level. For the large majority of applications cleavage of target RNA is preferred due to its catalytic nature and the lack of direct attack on the encoding gene.
  • Such adjustments to the ends of oligos so that they can form siRNA duplexes can be achieved without consideration of the sequence of the guide strand binding site on the gene target. This approach is limited by the need to make corresponding adjustments in the partner strand (so that complementary base pairing between the duplex partners is maintained) in any double stranded RNAi and by the design consideration illustrated in Prototype 1 above.
  • The greatest flexibility with this approach in the case of designs for double stranded siRNA with a 3′-end overhang design (involving 1-5 nucleosides in the overhang with 2 or 3 being most preferred) is illustrated in Prototype 4. Since the nature of the bases in an overhang is irrelevant to siRNA function per se they can be selected to form a hair pin with the desired characteristics in either or both of the component strands. In a variant of this design, an overhang used in the formation of a hair pin can involve the 5′end although 3′ overhangs are preferred. Although ss-siRNA does not have overhangs per se the related hair pin design considerations regarding overhangs can still be applied to ss-siRNA because 5′ and 3′ end nucleoside mismatches with the binding site in the gene target can be tolerated in ss-siRNA as well as in double stranded siRNA.
  • In yet another variant, the formation of a hair pin involving either 5′ or 3′ overhangs can be further supported by adjustments to one or more of the bases in the terminal 1-5 bases on the 5′ or 3′ ends as described above where the terminal bases are not in any overhang but are involved in the duplex formation between the passenger and guide strands. In the case of 5′ overhangs in a guide strand, however, the number of nucleosides in the overhang that are to be included in the count determines which nucleosides will be adjacent to the argonaute 2 cleavage site (as shown in Prototype 2 and elsewhere herein).
  • Hair pins suitable for use in the present invention exhibit negative free energy ranges of 2-15 kcal/mol. As a rule of thumb, the negative free energy of the hair pin is preferred to be no more than one third of the negative free energy of the binding of the strand to its partner strand. The free energy of hair pins can be adjusted in several ways including but not limited to the following: (1) the proportion of G:C vs. A:U base pairings involved in forming the hair pin (T may replace U in an overhang) with the former pairing providing the higher free energy; and (2) the selection of the nucleoside chemistry as described herein, for example, 2′ fluoro modified nucleotides have a higher free energy of binding with the target RNA than 2′-0-methyl modified ribonucleotides.
  • Prototype 4: Overhang Hair Pin Design for Individual siRNA Strand Stabilization to Nuclease Attack
  • A) Illustrated with Two Overhangs on Each Strand
  • 17-24-mer
    dsRNA
    5′ W-M--L--X--I--I--I--I-A-B 3′
    3′ F-G-I---I---I---I--Y-R-Q-Z 5′
  • B) Illustrated with Five Overhangs on Each Strand
  • 17-24-mer
    dsRNA
    5′ W-P--O-N-M-L-X-A-B-C-D-E 3′
    3′F-G-H-J-K-Y-V-T--S-R-Q--Z 5′
  • Where:
      • 1) The top strand is a passenger strand and the bottom strand is a guide strand;
      • 2) I is an individual nucleoside;
      • 3) A, B, C, D and E are passenger strand overhangs that respectively pair with L, M, N, O and P;
      • 4) W is some number of nucleosides that may be zero;
      • 5) the passenger strand has at least one over hang A and as many as five A-E;
      • 6) X is some number of nucleosides that gives a sum of at least 4 when added to the number of nucleosides represented by I (so X can be 0 in the top illustration and it must be at least 4 in the bottom illustration);
      • 7) all of the nucleotides in the passenger strand add up to a number between 17 and 24 where at least 16 nucleotides are not over hangs;
      • 8) nucleosides in the passenger strand that are not found in overhangs also may contribute to the formation of the hairpin under physiologic conditions by pairing with another nucleoside that is also not in a hairpin;
      • 9) F, G, H, J and K are passenger strand overhangs that respectively pair with Q, R, S, T and V;
      • 10) Z is some number of nucleosides that may be zero;
      • 11) the guide strand has at least one over hang F and as many as five F-K; Y is some number of nucleosides that gives a sum of at least 4 when added to the number of nucleosides represented by I (so Y can be 0 in the top illustration and must be at least 4 in the bottom illustration);
      • 12) all of the nucleotides in the guide strand add up to a number between 17 and 24 where at least 16 nucleotides are not over hangs;
      • 13) nucleosides in the guide strand that are not found in overhangs also may contribute to the formation of the hairpin under physiologic conditions by pairing with another nucleoside that is also not in a hairpin;
      • 14) the passenger and guide strands for a given siRNA may have different numbers of nucleosides in their overhangs;
      • 15) there are preferably no linkages, such as phosphodiester, that are susceptible to exonuclease attack that extend beyond the hair pin particularly where the RNAi is being used in vivo and/or where there is no carrier that provides protection from nucleases;
      • 16) not every base in an overhang must pair with another base that is in the oligo but it is preferred that they do with a limited number of exceptions e.g., when adjusting the binding affinity of the hair pin so that it fits within the preferred free energy range and avoiding runs of guanines that are greater than three;
      • 17) In the case of guide strands and excluding the 3′ overhangs described for this design (these need not base pair with the gene target) a limited number of mismatches with the sequence of the gene target can be tolerated in certain regions of the strand. Such mismatches with the target can be used to obtain a strand with the desired hair pin characteristics. As shown in Prototype 2 nucleosides 10 and 11 counting from the 5′ end lie opposite the argonaute 2 cleavage site on the gene target RNA sequence. These nucleosides cannot have mismatches with the target and it is preferred that there be no mismatches in any of the five nucleosides on either side of these. It is also preferred that no more than one-third of the remaining nucleosides in the guide strand have mismatches with the gene target.
      • 18) one or more contiguous dashes (-, -- or ---) represent single linkages between nucleosides.
  • Modifications for In Vitro Use:
  • For in vitro applications, native RNA structures may be used in the practice of the present invention. At least some modifications to provide protection from nuclease attack are desirable. Such modifications are the same as those described herein for in vivo use, however, they can be reduced in number. So, for example, rather than all the nucleotides outside the region adjacent to the argonaute 2 cleavage site comprise 2′-ribose modifications, a smaller number may be so modified. As another example, rather than having all the linkages outside the region adjacent to the argonaute 2 cleavage site be boranophosphates some smaller number may be so modified.
  • Modifications for In Vivo Use:
  • The preferred complementary sense and antisense oligos intended for use in the present invention produce double stranded RNAi agents that are 16-21-mers without 3′-overhangs or 5′-phosphates added to the guide strand terminal ribose sugar. These are illustrated below as 18-mers. The corresponding shorter or longer oligos will simply have longer or shorter 3′-ends on the intended guide strand where the sequence for the added nucleotides is determined by the RNA target with a corresponding increase or decrease in the 5′-end of the passenger strand. As discussed elsewhere herein these length changes do not affect the position of the nucleosides in the guide strand that are adjacent to the argonaute 2 cleavage site for the target RNA.
  • The preferred ss-siRNA are 19-23-mers and have the designs shown in Prototypes 9, 10 and 11 where 20-mers are illustrated. As for dsRNA the changes in length come at the 3′-end and follow the target sequence according to the principles of complementary base pairing. These are illustrated as 20-mers.
  • The preferred oligos have the following modifications in various configurations often in combination with native RNA nucleosides or phosphodiester linkages: (1) 2′-fluoro or 2′-O-methyl modifications of the ribose sugar; and (2) boranophosphate linkages. In the case of the 2′fluoro modification, it is understood that the fluorine has the same stereochemical orientation as the hydroxyl in ribose. (In instances where the fluorine has the opposite orientation, the associated nucleoside will be referred to as FANA or 2′-deoxy-2′fluoro-arabinonucleic acid). Other modifications, as described elsewhere herein are also suitable for use in the present invention but they are less preferred.
  • The key to the design illustrations is as follows: I represents an individual nucleotide; a dash - represents an internucleoside linkage; an underline extending under multiple nucleosides and their linkages indicates the nucleosides adjacent to the argonaute 2 cleavage site and the continuous nucleosides singled out for special consideration as provided for below. The passenger strands are shown on the top and the guide strands on the bottom. Special features of each design are presented with the corresponding illustration. For longer or shorter dsRNA the strands are extended or shortened by adding to the 3′-end of the guide strand and the 5′-end of the passenger strand. In any case the nucleosides shown in italics on the left ends remain at the ends although the associated sequences will change.
  • Prototype 5: Design #1 for Double Stranded siRNA
  • 16-24-mer
    siRNA
    5′ I-I-I-I-N-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I 3′
    3′ I-I-I-I-N-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I 5′
  • Features of Design #1a:
      • 1) This Design is most suitable for use with a carrier that provides nuclease resistance to the strand and/or with the hair pin approach for increasing nuclease resistance as disclosed herein.
      • 2) The terminal 4 nucleosides in each strand (shown in italics) are made up of 2′-fluoro or 2′-0-methyl modified nucleosides or a combination of 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl modified nucleosides and possibly including native nucleosides meeting the criteria illustrated in Prototype 1 and discussed in the associated text. 2′-0-(2-methoxyethyl) modified ribose can also be used in combination with one or both of these other ribose analogs or native ribose. Native nucleosides are preferably not used in the terminal positions. Other nucleosides, such as LNA or FANA may be used as described elsewhere herein but 2′-fluoro and 2′-0-methyl are preferred.
      • 3) The underlined nucleosides and linkages in the guide strand (see Prototype 2) preferably have one of the following alternating configurations: (a) 2′-fluoro with 2′-0-methyl with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred; (b) 2′-fluoro with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose; or (c) 2′-0-methyl with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose.
      • 4) Preferably, the rest of the ribonucleotides in the guide or passenger strand are 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl, 2′-0-(2-methoxyethyl) and/or native ribose. The exact mix can be adjusted to increase or decrease the overall Tm of the duplex and the Tm of the guide strand with its RNA target. Higher Tms for the guide strand with its target are preferred. Native ribose is preferably not used in terminal nucleosides and preferably there are no more than 3 contiguous native ribose containing nucleosides. Other nucleosides such as locked nucleic acids (LNA) and FANA can be used as described elsewhere herein. A minority of deoxyribonucleosides can be used in the passenger strand.
      • 5) The linkages in both strands are phosphodiester
      • 6) N represents some number of nucleosides between 0 and 8 and when 0 in the guide strand the next nucleoside downstream is considered to be underlined for the purposes of understanding the design
    Features of Design #1 b:
  • In a variant of Design 1a above, the passenger strand is missing one of the central linkages such that it occurs as two continuous oligos. Each of these oligos must have a Tm of at least 40 degrees Centigrade with the corresponding section of the guide strand. The Tm can be increased by using more 2′-fluoro modified nucleosides or other nucleosides discussed elsewhere herein such as LNAs. Any such adjustments for Tm considerations in the terminal 4 nucleosides of the duplex must continue to respect the principles illustrated in Prototype 1 and discussed in the associated text.
  • Prototype 6: Design #2 for Double Stranded siRNA
  • 16-24-mer
    siRNA
    5′ I-I-I-I-N-I--I--I--I--I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I 3′
    3′ I-I-I-I-N~I~I~I~I~I~I-I-I-I-I-I-I 5′
  • Features of Design #2a:
    • 1) The terminal 4 nucleosides in each strand (shown in italics) are made up of 2′-fluoro or 2′-0-methyl modified nucleosides or a combination of 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl and/or native ribonucleosides organized as shown in Prototype 1 and as discussed in the associated text. 2′-0-(2-methoxyethyl) modified ribose can also be used in combination with one or both of these other ribose analogs or native ribose. Native nucleosides are preferably not used in the terminal positions. Other nucleosides, such as LNA or FANA may be used as described elsewhere herein but 2′-fluoro and 2′-0-methyl are preferred.
    • 2) The underlined nucleosides in the guide strand (see Prototype 2) have one of the following alternating configurations: (a) 2′-fluoro with 2′-0-methyl with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred; (b) 2′-fluoro with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose; or (c) 2′-0-methyl with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose. Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. This approach allow for a greater use of native ribose in this region.
    • 3) Preferably, the rest of the ribonucleotides in the guide or passenger strand are 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-(2-methoxyethyl) and/or native ribose. The exact mix can be adjusted to increase or decrease the overall Tm of the duplex and the Tm of the guide strand with its RNA target. Higher Tms for the guide strand with its target are preferred. Native ribose is preferably not used in terminal nucleosides and preferably there are no more than 3 contiguous native ribose containing nucleosides. Other nucleosides such as LNA and FANA can be used as described elsewhere herein. A minority of deoxyribonucleosides can be used in the passenger strand.
    • 4) Single or multiple dashes represent either boranophosphate or phosphodiester linkages.
    • 5) The linkages in the guide strand are a mixture of boranophosphate and phosphodiester according to the following scheme; (a) no more than three of the five linkages indicated by the symbol ˜ in the guide strand can be boranophosphate with the Sp stereoisomer configuration being most preferred and no more than two can be contiguous; Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of phosphodiester linkages in this region; (b) The majority of the linkages outside the underlined sequence in the guide strand will be boranophosphate with all of them being boranophosphate being most preferred.
    • 6) The linkages in the passenger strand are preferentially boranophosphate although they may be phosphorothioate or a mixture that includes no more than three contiguous phosphodiester linkages. These phosphorothioate linkages can consistently have the Sp or Rp stereochemistry, be a mixture of Sp and Rp or be phosphorodithioate.
    • 7) N represents some number of nucleosides between 0 and 8 and when 0 in the guide strand the next nucleoside downstream is considered to be underlined for the purposes of understanding the design
      The frequency of boranophosphate linkages and certain other parameters depend, in part, on the synthesis method for establishing boranophosphate linkages as discussed herein.
    Features of Design #2b:
  • In a variant of design #2 above, the passenger strand is missing one of the central linkages such that it occurs as two continuous oligos. Each of these oligos must have a Tm of at least 40 degrees Centigrade with the corresponding section of the guide strand. The Tm can be increased by using more 2′-fluoro modified nucleosides or other nucleosides in either strand as discussed elsewhere herein (such as the use of locked nucleic acids). Any such adjustments for Tm considerations in the terminal 4 nucleosides of the duplex must continue to respect the principle illustrated in Prototype 1 and discussed in the associated text.
  • Prototype 7: Design #3 for Double Stranded siRNA
  • 16-24-mer
    siRNA
    5′ I-I-I-I-N--I-I--I--I--I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I 3′
    3′ I-I-I-I-N~I~I~I~I~I-I-I-I-I-I-I 5′
  • Features of Design #3a:
      • 1) The terminal 4 nucleosides in each strand (shown in italics) are made up of 2′-fluoro or 2′-0-methyl modified nucleosides or a combination of 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl and/or native ribonucleosides organized as shown in Prototype 1 and as discussed in the associated text. 2′-0-(2-methoxyethyl) modified ribose can also be used in combination with one or both of these other ribose analogs or native ribose. Native nucleosides are preferably not used in the terminal positions. Other nucleosides, such as LNA or FANA may be used as described elsewhere herein but 2′-fluoro and 2′-0-methyl are preferred.
      • 2) The underlined nucleosides in the guide strand (see Prototype 2) have one of the following alternating configurations: (a) 2′-fluoro with 2′-0-methyl with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred; (b) 2′-fluoro with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose; or (c) 2′-0-methyl with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose. Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. This approach allow for a greater use of native ribose in this region.
      • 3) Preferably, the rest of the ribonucleotides in the guide or passenger strand are 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl, 2′-0-(2-methoxyethyl) and/or native ribose. The exact mix can be adjusted to increase or decrease the overall Tm of the duplex and the Tm of the guide strand with its RNA target. Higher Tms for the guide strand with its target are preferred. Native ribose is preferably not used in terminal nucleosides and preferably there are no more than 3 contiguous native ribose containing nucleosides. Other nucleosides such as LNA and FANA can be used as described elsewhere herein. A minority of deoxyribonucleosides can be used in the passenger strand.
      • 4) Single or multiple dashes represent either phosphorothioate or phosphodiester linkages.
      • 5) The linkages in the guide strand are a mixture of phosphorothioate and phosphodiester according to the following scheme; (a) no more than three of the five linkages indicated by the symbol ˜ in the guide strand can be phosphorothioate with the Sp stereoisomer configuration being most preferred and no more than two can be contiguous; Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. This approach allow for a greater use of phosphodiester linkages in this region; (b) The majority of the linkages outside the underlined sequence in the guide strand will be phosphorothioate with all of them being phosphorothioate being most preferred. These phosphorothioate linkages can consistently have the Sp or Rp stereochemistry, be a mixture of Sp and Rp or be phosphorodithioate.
      • 6) The linkages in the passenger strand are preferably a phosphorothioate plus phosphodiester mixture that includes no more than three contiguous phosphodiester linkages and a predominance of phosphorothioates in the terminal five linkages on both ends of the strand.
      • 7) N represents some number of nucleosides between 0 and 8 and when 0 in the guide strand the next nucleoside downstream is considered to be underlined for the purposes of understanding the design.
    Features of Design #3b:
  • In a variant of design #2 above, the passenger strand is missing one of the central linkages such that it occurs as two continuous oligos. Each of these oligos must have a Tm of at least 40 degrees Centigrade with the corresponding section of the guide strand. The Tm can be increased by using more 2′-fluoro modified nucleosides or other nucleosides in either strand as discussed elsewhere herein (such as the use of locked nucleic acids). Any such adjustments for Tm considerations in the terminal 4 nucleosides of the duplex must continue to respect the principle illustrated in Prototype 1 and discussed in the associated text.
  • Prototype 8: Design #4 for Double Stranded siRNA
  • 16-24-mer guide strand siRNA
    Features of Design 4a:
    5′ A-I--I-I-I-X--I-I-I-I-I-B 3′
    3′ I-I-I-I-Y-I-I-I--I--I-I-I-I-I--I-I-I 5′
    Features of Design 4b and 4c:
    16-24-mer guide strand siRNA
    5′ A-I--I--I--I-X-I-I-I-I-I-B 3′
    3′ I-I-I-I-Y~I~I~I~I~I-I-I-I-I--I-I-I 5′
  • Where for Designs 4a, 4b and 4c:
      • 1) the top strand is the passenger strand and the bottom strand is the guide strand;
      • 2) one or more contiguous dashes (- or --) or waves (˜) represent intemucleoside linkages;
      • 3) I represents a nucleoside;
      • 4) A, B, X and Y each represent some number of nucleosides (the number may be zero) where the sum of A plus X plus B plus the number of nucleosides represented by the letter I add up to a sum number between 12 and a larger number which is two less than the length of the guide strand (a sum of 14 or is preferred with 15 being most preferred);
      • 5) Y is some number between zero and 8;
      • 6) “A” represents a number of nucleosides such that the 3′ end of the guide strand has at least 1 and as many as 7 nucleosides that are not paired with nucleosides in the passenger strand;
      • 7) “B” represents a number of nucleosides such that the 5′ end of the guide strand has at least 1 and as many as 5 nucleosides that are not paired with nucleosides in the passenger strand;
      • 8) designs involving hair pins can be applied to either or both the passenger and/or guide strands;
      • 9) the Tm rules described in Prototype 1 and the related text do not apply here if there are two or more nucleosides overhangs extending from both ends of the guide strand if there are one or two nucleosides in these overhangs then the number of duplexed nucleosides that are relevant (4 terminal nucleosides in Prototype 1) are reduced to 3 or 2 respectively;
      • 10) the passenger strand and the guide strand can be but are not necessarily stabilized by one of the hair pin designs as described herein;
    Where for Design 4a:
      • 1) This design is most suitable for use with a carrier that provides nuclease resistance to the strand and/or with the hair pin approach disclosed herein.
      • 2) The underlined nucleosides in the guide strand (see Prototype 2) have one of the following alternating configurations: (a) 2′-fluoro with 2′-0-methyl with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical being most preferred; (b) 2′-fluoro with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical being most preferred unless they are native ribose; or (c) 2′-0-methyl with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose. Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of native ribose in this region.
      • 3) Preferably, the rest of the ribonucleotides in the guide or passenger strand are 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl, 2′-0-(2-methoxyethyl) and/or native ribose. The exact mix can be adjusted to increase or decrease the overall Tm of the duplex and the Tm of the guide strand with its RNA target. Higher Tms for the guide strand with its target are preferred. Native ribose is preferably not used in terminal nucleosides and preferably there are no more than 3 contiguous native ribose containing nucleosides. Other nucleosides such as locked nucleic acids (LNA) and FANA can be used as described elsewhere herein. A minority of deoxyribonucleosides can be used in the passenger strand but ribonucleosides (native ribose, 2′-fluoro etc.) are preferred of all positions
      • 4) The linkages in both strands are phosphodiester
      • 5) Y represents some number of nucleosides and when 0 in the guide strand the next nucleoside downstream is considered to be underlined for the purposes of understanding the design
    Where for Design 4b:
      • 1) The underlined nucleosides in the guide strand (see Prototype 2) have one of the following alternating configurations: (a) 2′-fluoro with 2′-0-methyl with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical being most preferred; (b) 2′-fluoro with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose; or (c) 2′-0-methyl with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose. Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of native ribose in this region.
      • 2) Preferably, the rest of the ribonucleotides in the guide or passenger strand are 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl, 2′-0-(2-methoxyethyl) and/or native ribose. The exact mix can be adjusted to increase or decrease the overall Tm of the duplex and the Tm of the guide strand with its RNA target. Higher Tms for the guide strand with its target are preferred. Native ribose is preferably not used in terminal nucleosides and preferably there are no more than 3 contiguous native ribose containing nucleosides. Other nucleosides such as LNA and FANA can be used as described elsewhere herein. A minority of deoxyribonucleosides can be used in the passenger strand but ribonucleosides such as 2′-fluoro are preferred at all positions.
      • 3) The linkages in the guide strand are a mixture of boranophosphate and phosphodiester according to the following scheme; (a) no more than three of the five linkages indicated by the symbol ˜ in the guide strand can be boranophosphate with the Sp stereoisomer configuration being most preferred and no more than two can be contiguous; Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of phosphodiester linkages in this region; (b) The majority of the linkages outside the underlined sequence in the guide strand will be boranophosphate with all of them being boranophosphate being most preferred.
      • 4) The linkages in the passenger strand are preferentially boranophosphate although they may be phosphorothioate or a mixture that includes no more than three contiguous phosphodiester linkages. These phosphorothioate linkages can consistently have the Sp or Rp stereochemistry, be a mixture of Sp and Rp or be phosphorodithioate.
      • 5) Y represents some number of nucleosides and when 0 in the guide strand the next nucleoside downstream is considered to be underlined for the purposes of understanding the design
    Where for Design 4c:
      • 1) The underlined nucleosides in the guide strand (see Prototype 2) have one of the following alternating configurations: (a) 2′-fluoro with 2′-0-methyl with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical being most preferred; (b) 2′-fluoro with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose; or (c) 2′-0-methyl with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose. Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of native ribose in this region.
      • 2) Preferably, the rest of the ribonucleotides in the guide or passenger strand are 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl, 2′-0-(2-methoxyethyl) and/or native ribose. The exact mix can be adjusted to increase or decrease the overall Tm of the duplex and the Tm of the guide strand with its RNA target. Higher Tms for the guide strand with its target are preferred. Native ribose is preferably not used in terminal nucleosides and preferably there are no more than 3 contiguous native ribose containing nucleosides. Other nucleosides such as LNA and FANA can be used as described elsewhere herein. A minority of deoxyribonucleosides can be used in the passenger strand although ribonucleosides such as 2′-fluoro are preferred in all variant positions.
      • 3) The linkages in the guide strand are a mixture of phosphorothioate and phosphodiester according to the following scheme; (a) no more than three of the five linkages indicated by the symbol ˜ in the guide strand can be phosphorothioate with the Sp stereoisomer configuration being most preferred and no more than two can be contiguous; Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of phosphodiester linkages in this region; (b) The majority of the linkages outside the underlined sequence in the guide strand will be phosphorothioate with each being phosphorothioate most preferred. These phosphorothioate linkages can consistently have the Sp or Rp stereochemistry, be a mixture of Sp and Rp or be phosphorodithioate.
      • 4) The linkages in the passenger strand can be all phosphorothioate although they preferably are a phosphorothioate plus phosphodiester mixture that includes no more than three contiguous phosphodiester linkages. The phosphorothioate linkages can consistently have the Sp or Rp stereochemistry, be a mixture of Sp and Rp or be phosphorodithioate.
      • 5) Y represents some number of nucleosides and when 0 in the guide strand the next nucleoside downstream is considered to be underlined for the purposes of understanding the design.
    Prototype 9: Design Illustration #1 for Ss-siRNA
  • 20-mer
    5′ I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-
    Figure US20150025122A1-20150122-P00004
    -I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I 3′
  • Features of Design #1:
    • 1) This Design is most suitable for use with a carrier that provides nuclease resistance to the strand and/or with the hair pin approach disclosed herein. Carriers covalently linked to the strand are preferably attached to the 3′-end.
    • 2) The underlined nucleosides in the guide strand (see Prototype 2) have one of the following alternating configurations: (a) 2′-fluoro with 2′-0-methyl with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred; (b) 2′-fluoro with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose; or (c) 2′-0-methyl with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose. Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of native ribose in this region.
    • 3) The rest of the ribonucleotides are 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl and/or native where the exact mix can be adjusted to increase or decrease the overall Tm of the guide strand with its RNA target. Higher Tms with the target RNA are more preferred (2′-fluoro>2′-0-methyl>native) and 2′-fluoro modifications to the 3′end are more preferred particularly for the terminal ribonucleotide.
    • 4) The linkages are phosphodiester
    • 5) A 5′ phosphate is preferred over a 5′hydroxyl in the terminal ribose or ribose analog.
    Prototype 10: Design Illustration #2 for Ss-siRNA
  • 20-mer
    5′ I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I~I~
    Figure US20150025122A1-20150122-P00005
    ~I~I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I 3′
  • Features of Design #2:
      • 1) The underlined nucleosides in the guide strand (see Prototype 2) have one of the following alternating configurations: (a) 2′-fluoro with 2′-0-methyl with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred; (b) 2′-fluoro with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose; or (c) 2′-0-methyl with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless, they are native ribose. Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of native ribose in this region.
      • 2) The rest of the nucleotides are 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl and/or native where the exact mix can be adjusted to increase or decrease the overall Tm of the guide strand with its RNA target. Higher Tms are most preferred (2′-fluoro>2′-0-methyl>native) and 2′-fluoro modifications to the 3′end are preferred particularly the terminal nucleotide.
      • 3) The linkages are a mixture of boranophosphate and phosphodiester according to the following scheme; (a) no more than three of the five linkages indicated by the symbol ˜ in the guide strand can be boranophosphate with the Sp stereoisomer configuration being most preferred and no more than two of these can be contiguous; Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of phosphodiester linkages in this region; (b) The majority of the other linkages in the guide strand will be boranophosphate with all of these being boranophosphate being most preferred.
      • 4) A 5′phosphate is preferred over a 5′hydroxyl in the terminal ribose or ribose analog.
  • The frequency of boranophosphate linkages and certain other parameters depend, in part, on the synthesis method for establishing boranophosphate linkages as discussed herein.
  • Prototype 11: Design Illustration #3 for Ss-siRNA
  • 20-mer
    5′ I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I~I~
    Figure US20150025122A1-20150122-P00005
    ~I~I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I 3′
  • Features of Design #3:
      • 1) The underlined nucleosides in the guide strand (see Prototype 2) have one of the following alternating configurations: (a) 2′-fluoro with 2′-0-methyl with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred; (b) 2′-fluoro with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred unless they are native ribose; or (c) 2′-0-methyl with native RNA nucleotides with no more than 3 contiguous nucleosides having the same type of 2′-moiety with contiguous nucleotides not being identical most preferred, unless they are native ribose. Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of native ribose in this region.
      • 2) The rest of the nucleotides are 2′-fluoro, 2′-0-methyl and/or native where the exact mix can be adjusted to increase or decrease the overall Tm of the guide strand with its RNA target. Higher Tms are most preferred (2′-fluoro>2′-0-methyl>native) and 2′-fluoro modifications to the 3′end are preferred particularly the terminal nucleotide.
      • 3) The linkages are a mixture of phosphorothioate and phosphodiester according to the following scheme; (a) no more than three of the five linkages indicated by the symbol ˜ in the guide strand can be phosphorothioate with the Sp stereoisomer configuration being most preferred of boranophosphate with the Sp stereoisomer configuration being most preferred and no more than two of these non-phosphodiester linkages can be contiguous; Added nuclease protection for this region of the guide strand may be obtained by use of a hair pin design as described herein. Such an approach allows for the greater use of phosphodiester in this region; (b) The majority of the other linkages in the guide strand will be phosphorothioate with all of these being phosphorothioate being most preferred. These phosphorothioate linkages can consistently have the Sp or Rp stereochemistry, be a mixture of Sp and Rp or be phosphorodithioate.
      • 4) A 5′phosphate is preferred over a 5′hydroxyl in the terminal ribose or ribose analog.
  • Boranophosphate linkages, (FIG. 1) differ from native DNA and RNA in that a borane (BH3 ) group replaces one of the non-bridging oxygen atoms in the native phosphodiester linkage. Such linkages can be inserted in oligos via two general methods: (1) template directed enzymatic polymerization; and (2) chemical synthesis using solid supports. Synthetic schemes for solid support methods that have been worked out using deoxyribonucleotides can also be applied to RNA. However, for native ribonucleotides, the 2′hydroyl on the ribose must be protected and then deprotected during synthesis. This does not apply to ribonucleotides with 2′ ribose modifications such as 2′-fluoro or 2′-0-methyl. Protection and deprotection of the 2′-hydroxyl of native ribonucleotides can be achieved by a wide variety of means that are well known in the art.
  • In template directed enzymatic polymerization stereoregular boranophosphate linkages are used in oligos and can be inserted by means of an enzymatic process (Hall et al., Nucl Acids Res 32: 5991, 2004; Wan and Shaw, Nucleosides, Nucleotides & Nucleic Acids, 24: 943, 2005; Wan, Enzymatic synthesis, properties and functions of boranophosphate RNA, PhD Dissertation, Duke University, Durham N.C., 2005; Li et al., Chem Rev 107: 4746, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 5,859,231). Here boranophosphate containing guide and passenger strands are generated in separate reactions from DNA templates by transcription using an RNA polymerase such as bacteriophage T7 and native or modified ribonucleoside 5′ triphosphates.
  • As a group such RNA polymerases usually preferentially produce boranophosphate linkages in oligoribonucleotides that have the Sp stereoisomer configuration. As in the case of T7 they may achieve this by starting with Rp ribonucleoside 5′(alpha-P-borano)triphosphates. The stereochemical configuration of such linkages can impact the ability of the oligoribonucleotide to interact with other enzymes, for example nucleases. The synthesis and purification of specific Rp or Sp diastereomers of ribonucleoside 5′(alpha-P-Borano)triphosphates useful for the practice of this invention is described in He et al., J Org Chem 63: 5769, 1998; He, “Synthesis and properties of boranophosphate nucleic acids” PhD Dissertation, Duke University, Durham N.C., 2000 and Li et al., Chem Rev 107: 4766, 2007.
  • Using this enzymatic approach facilitates production of an oligo having mixed boranophosphate and phosphodiester linkages. One can convert one or more of the type(s) of ribonucleosides (G, C, A or U) into 5′-(alpha-P-borano)triphosphates as illustrated in FIG. 2 and alternate these with ribonucleosides having native 5′ triphosphates. This approach thus limits the sequences that can be used with this method when the design principles described in Prototypes 6, 8 (Design 4b) and 10 are to be followed. Similarly, this approach limits the selection of native, 2′-fluoro or 2′-0-methyl ribose to some types of ribonucleosides (G, C, A or U) to the exclusion of others in order to meet these same design principles because any given type of ribonucleotide (G, C, A or U) must only have one type of ribose. Further, T7 based synthesis is most efficient when the first ribonucleoside has a guanine base and this enzyme catalyzes the formation of RNA in the 5′ to 3′ direction. Specific illustrations of using this synthesis method and meeting the indicated design criteria are provided in the Example section.
  • In a variant of this method the guide and passenger strands can each be synthesized as two pieces in a manner such that after annealing of each piece with its partner there will be over hangs that can be used to align each duplex pair for ligation so that a complete double stranded si-RNA is formed by the ligation step. In this way the specific combinations of ribonucleosides with borano triphosphates vs. native triphosphates can be different for each of the four starting oligos. This allows for greater flexibility in meeting the illustrated design requirements.
  • Boranophosphate oligonucleotide production can be achieved by a variety of solid phase chemical synthetic schemes including methods that involve modifications to the very commonly used approaches employing phosphoramidites or H-phosphonates in the production of phosphodiesters, phosphorothioates and phosphorodithioates among other chemistries (Li et al., Chem Rev 107: 4746, 2007). Other solid phase synthesis techniques more precisely directed to boranophosphates have also been developed over the last few years. Wada and his colleagues, for example, have developed what they call the boranophosphotriester method that can make use of H-phosphonate intermediates (Shimizu et al., J Org Chem 71: 4262, 2006; Kawanaka et al., Bioorg Med Chem Lett 18: 3783, 2008). This method can also be applied to the synthesis of diastereometically pure boranophosphates (Enya et al., Bioorg Med Chem 16: 9154, 2008).
  • The generation of oligos with mixed linkages such as boranophosphate and phosphate linkages has been accomplished by several solid phase methods including one involving the use of bis(trimethylsiloxy)cyclododecyloxysilyl as the 5′-0-protecting group (Brummel and Caruthers, Tetrahedron Lett 43: 749, 2002). In another example the 5′-hydroxyl is initially protected with a benzhydroxybis(trimethylsilyloxy)silyl group and then deblocked by Et3N:HF before the next cycle (McCuen et al., J Am Chem Soc 128: 8138, 2006). This method can result in a 99% coupling yield and can be applied to the synthesis of oligos with pure boranophosphate linkages or boranophosphate mixed with phosphodiester, phosphorothioate, phosphorodithioate or methyl phosphonate linkages.
  • The boranophosphorylating reagent 2-(4-nitrophenyl)ethyl ester of boranophosphoramidate can be used to produce boranophosphate linked oligoribonucleosides (Lin, Synthesis and properties of new classes of boron-containing nucleic acids, PhD Dissertation, Duke University, Durham N.C., 2001). This reagent readily reacts with a hydroxyl group on the nucleosides in the presence of 1H-tetrazole as a catalyst. The 2-(4-nitrophenyl)ethyl group can be removed by 1,4-diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene (DBU) through beta-elimination, producing the corresponding nucleoside boranomonophosphates (NMPB) in good yield.
  • The stereo-controlled synthesis of oligonucleotide boranophosphates can be achieved using an adaptation of the oxathiaphospholane approach originally developed for the stereo-controlled synthesis of phosphorothioates (Li et al., Chem Rev 107: 4746, 2007). This method involves a tricoordinate phosphorus intermediate that allows for the introduction of a borane group.
  • Other approaches include stereo-controlled synthesis by means of chiral indole-oxazaphosphorine or chiral oxazaphospholidine. Both of these approaches initially use used for the stereocontrolled synthesis of phosphorothioates and have been successfully adapted to boranophosphates (Li et al., Chem Rev 107: 4746, 2007).
  • The main difference between oligoribonucleotide and oligodeoxyribonucleotide synthesis is the need to protect the 2′-hydroxyl found on native ribose during synthesis followed by deprotection. Such methods are well established and allow oligodeoxyribonucleotides containing native ribose to be synthesized by basically the same methods that are used to synthesize oligodeoxyribonucleotides.
  • Carriers
  • The carriers contemplated for use in accordance with the present invention are divided into various categories below, but it is to be understood by the one skilled in the art that some components of these carriers can be mixed and matched. For example, various linkers can be used to attach various peptides of the type described herein to any given oligo and various peptides can be incorporated into particular nanoparticle-based carriers depending on the commercial or clinical purpose to be served.
  • Carriers and/or endosomolytic agents can be used to advantage for delivering adequate amounts of oligos in vitro or in vivo to certain intracellular compartments such as the nucleus or the cytoplasm and/or in delivering adequate amounts of such agents in vivo to certain tissues such as the following: (1) delivery to the brain, an organ that typically takes up relatively small amounts of oligos following systemic administration; (2) preferentially concentrating oligos in particular target organs, such as heart; and (3) increasing the levels of active oligos in tissues more resistant to oligo uptake due to certain conditions, such as poor vascularization in tumors and disrupted blood supply in ischemia reperfusion injuries; and (4) reducing the dose needed for oligo action, while reducing potential side effect risk(s) in non-target tissues.
  • For the purposes of this invention, the preferred carriers, particularly for in vivo use, make use of peptides that promote cell penetration. These cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) typically share a high density of basic charges and are approximately 10-30 amino acids in length. Such peptides may be part of a complex carrier composition, including but not limited to nanoparticles. Alternatively, such CPP peptides may be conjugated to the oligo directly or by means of a linker. Further, CPPs can be fused to, or otherwise associated with peptides that provide other features to oligo carriers such as increasing homing to particular organs, or to particular subcellular compartments. For example, certain peptides described herein may enhance nuclear localization or provide an endosomolytic function (i.e., they function to enhance the escape of oligos or other drugs from endosomes, lysosomes or phagosomes). CPPs and peptides with other useful carrier functions may be derived from naturally occurring protein domains or synthetic versions may be designed which retain the activity of the naturally occurring versions. Those of human origin include peptide-mimetics such as polyethylenimines. The naturally occurring peptides discussed below have sequence variants, such as those observed in different strains or species or as a result of polymorphisms within species. Thus, the representative peptide sequences provided cannot be considered to be exact and variations in peptide sequences exist between some of the documents referenced. These variants are fully functional and may be used interchangeably.
  • Given the relatively small size of most cell penetrating peptides compared to the large size of siRNA, it is often preferable to employ such peptides in larger carrier structures such as nanoparticles rather than use direct conjugation of the peptide to these oligo types. This approach typically improves the charge ratio and cellular uptake for oligo/carrier complexes. However, an example of a CPP that has been directly and covalently attached to siRNA and shown to promote its uptake by cells is TAT (Chiu et al., Chem Biol 11: 1165, 2004; Davidson et al., J Neurosci 24: 10040, 2004). Delivery of antisense oligos contained within expression vectors generally will require a viral vector or one of the siRNA or dicer substrate delivery mechanisms as provided for herein.
  • Targeting molecules may be operably linked to CPPs thus providing improved oligo uptake in particular cell types. One example of targeting molecules useful for this purpose are those directed to G-protein coupled receptors. Other examples of targeting molecules are ligands to IL-13, GM-CSF, VEGF and CD-20. Other examples of complex structures involved in targeting include nucleic acid aptamers or spiegelmers directed to particular cell surface structures. Characteristics, production uses and methods related to these targeting molecules and complex structures are provided in the following documents: (Nolte et al., Nat Biotech 14: 1116, 1996; McGown et al., Anal Chem 67: 663A, 1995; Pestourie et al., Biochimie 87: 921, 2005; Brody and Gold, J Biotechnol 74: 5, 2000; Mayer and Jenne, BioDrugs 18: 351, 2004; Wolfl and Diekmann, J Biotechnol 74: 3, 2000; Ferreira et al., Tumour Biol 27: 289, 2006; Stoltenburg et al., Anal Bioanal Chem 383: 83, 2005; Rimmele, Chembiochem 4: 963, 2003; Ulrich Handb Exp Pharmacol 173: 305, 2006; Drabovich et al., Anal Chem 78: 3171, 2006; Eulberg and Klussmann, Chembiochem 4: 979, 2003; Vater and Klussmann, Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel 6: 253, 2003; Binkley et al., Nucleic Acids Res 23: 3198, 1995; U.S. Pat. No. 7,329,638, US 2005/0042753, US 2003/0148449, US 2002/0076755, US 2006/0166274, US 2007/0179090, WO 01/81408, WO 2006/052723, WO 2007/137117, WO 03/094973, WO 2007/048019, WO 2007/016507, WO 2008/039173).
  • Methods and agents that can be used to bypass endosomal, lysosomal or phagosomal sequestration or used to promote the escape of oligos from endosomes, lysosomes or phagosomes are optionally administered with the oligo based therapeutics described herein. Such methods include, but are not limited to three approaches that are not mutually exclusive. First, endosomolytic or lysosomotropic agents may be attached to oligos or included in oligo carrier compositions. Second, lysosomotropic agents may be administered as separate agents at about the time the oligo or carrier/oligo complex is administered in vivo or in vitro. Such lysosomotropic agents include, but are not limited to, the following agents: chloroquine, omeprazole and bafilomycin A. Third, agents that inhibit vacuolar proton ATPase activity (promotes acidification of endosomes, lysosomes or phagosomes) or acidic organelle function may be utilized to sensitize cells to oligo action. Such agents and methods for their administration are provided in U.S. Pat. No. 6,982,252 and WO 03/047350. Such compounds include but are not limited to the following: (1) a bafilomycin such as bafilomycin A1; (2) a macrolide antibiotic such as concanamycin; (3) a benzolacton enamide such as salicilyhalamide A, oximidine or lobatamide; (4) inhibitors of rapamycin, bFGF, TNF-alpha, and/or PMA activated pathways; (5) inhibitors of the class III phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase signal transduction pathway; and/or (6) antisense oligos directed to the gene or RNA encoding vacuolar proton ATPase protein.
  • Certain lysosomotropic agents such as chloroquine and omeprazole have been used medically, but not as agents for the promotion of oligo activity. These agents exhibit lysosomotropic activity at established doses and treatment regimens both in vivo and in vitro, and thus such studies provide a dosing guide for their use in combination with oligos to promote oligo activity (Goodman & Gilman's The Pharmacologic Basis of Therapeutics 11th edition Brunton et al., editors, 2006, McGraw-Hill, New York). Other lysosomotropic agents are suitable for in vitro use and dosing studies can be performed according to well established methods known in the art to optimize efficacy when used in combination with oligo therapeutics in vivo. Methods have also been devised that allow chloroquine to be incorporated into carriers or directly conjugated to oligos for boosting the intended antisense activity of oligos on cells. These include but are not limited to, those found in US 2008/0051323 and WO2007/040469.
  • The molecules listed below are useful as carriers and/or as components of complex carriers for transporting the oligos of the present invention into cells and into subcellular compartments (in accordance with the guidance provided herein) where they can express their inhibitory functions. Unless otherwise noted these molecules: (1) are CPPs; and/or (2) are useful for achieving oligo function in a wide variety of cell types. Certain of the molecules have been shown to work well in particular cell types or tissues and/or to selectively work with particular cell types or tissues. Such tissues and cell types for which certain of the following molecules have proved to be particularly useful as targeting ligands, carriers or as members of complex carriers include but are not limited to brain, CNS, liver, heart, endothelium, pancreatic islet cells, retina, etc. The biochemical features of the following disclosed peptides and other molecules listed (e.g., increased target cell membrane penetration activity, promotion of endosomolytic activity, activation by to exposure to low pH environments and coding sequence information) are provided in detail below.
  • (1) TAT and TAT variants—See the following references: (Astriab-Fisher et al., Pharmaceutical Res 19: 744, 2002; Zhao and Weissleder, Med Res Rev 24: 1, 2004; Jensen et al., J Controlled Release 87: 89, 2003; Hudecz et al., Med Res Rev 25: 679, 2005; Meade et al., Adv Drug Delivery Rev 59: 134, 2007; Meade and Dowdy Adv Drug Delivery Rev 60: 530, 2008; Jones et al., Br J Pharmacol 145: 1093, 2005; Gupta et al., Oncology Res 16: 351, 2007; Kim et al., Biochimie 87: 481, 2005; Klein et al., Cell Transplantation 14: 241, 2005; U.S. Pat. No. 6,316,003, U.S. Pat. No. 7,329,638, US 2005/0042753, US 2007/0105775, US 2006/0159619, WO 99/55899, WO 2007/095152, WO 2008/008476, WO 2006/029078, WO 2006/0222657, WO 2008/022046, WO 2006/053683, WO 2004/048545, WO 2008/093982, WO 94/04686)—Tat includes the HIV TAT protein transduction domain and sequences that have been used for this purpose, such as: KRRQRRR (SEQ ID NO: 1), GYGRKKRRQRRR (SEQ ID NO:2), YGRKKRRQRRR (SEQ ID NO: 3), CYGRKKRRQRRR (SEQ ID NO:4), RKKRRQRRRPPQC (SEQ ID NO: 5), CYQRKKRRQRRR (SEQ ID NO: 6) and RKKRRQRRR (SEQ ID NO: 7). In addition, various amino acid substitutions in TAT have been shown to promote the CPP activity of TAT as disclosed in the referenced documents. TAT can be used as a fusion peptide with enhanced CPP activity where the fusion partner is selected from peptides derived from the following group: (a) HEF from influenza C virus; (b) HA2 and its analogs, see below; (c) transmembrane glycoproteins from filovirus, rabies virus, vesicular stomatitis virus or Semliki Forest virus; (d) fusion polypeptide of sendai virus, human respiratory syncytial virus, measles virus, Newcastle disease virus, visna virus, murine leukemia virus, human T-cell leukemia virus, simian immunodeficiency virus; or (e) M2 protein of influenza A virus.
  • TAT and TAT variants have been used successfully to facilitate delivery of therapeutic agents to a wide variety of tissue and cell types that include but are not limited to the following: (a) the CNS and increase penetration of the blood brain barrier. See Kilic et al., Stroke 34: 1304, 2003; Kilic et al., Ann Neurol 52: 617, 2002; Kilic et al., Front Biosci 11: 1716, 2006; Schwarze et al., Science 285, 1569, 1999; Banks et al., Exp Neurol 193: 218, 2005; and WO 00/62067; (b) TAT peptides have also been shown to effectively penetrate heart tissue. See Gustafsson et al., Circulation 106: 735, 2002; (c) TAT or TAT/PDT are described in Embury et al., Diabetes 50: 1706, 2001; and Klein et al., Cell Transplantation 14: 241, 2005. These investigators disclose that such peptides are useful for delivery of desired agents to pancreatic islet cells; (d) Schorderet et al., Clin Exp Ophthalmology 33: 628, 2005 describe the use of D-TAT which is the retro-inverso form of TAT for delivery of agents to the retina and thus this peptide is also useful in the methods disclosed herein.
  • (2) MPG peptide—See the following references. (Morris et al., Nucleic Acids Res 25: 2730, 1997; Simeoni et al., Nucleic Acids Res 31: 2117, 2003; Hudecz et al., Med Res Rev 25: 679, 2005; Deshayes et al., Adv Drug Delivery Rev 60: 537, 2008; WO 2006/053683, WO 2004/048545)—Delivery systems using this CPP make combined use of a sequence that is derived from the fusion sequence of the HIV protein gp41, the sequence including for example, GALFLGF(or W)LGAAGSTMGA (SEQ ID NO:8) or the longer peptide sequence GALFLGF(or W)LGAAGSTMGAWSQPKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO:9) when the goal is to achieve higher levels nuclear transport of the oligo. Nuclear concentration is most suitable for conventional antisense oligos that have an RNase H mechanism of action or those that interfere with splicing by means of a steric hindrance mechanism as well as for siRNA that functions as a transcriptional inhibitor and for expression vectors. An alternative form of the longer MPG peptide where the second lysine is replaced by a serine (GALFLGF(or W)LGAAGSTMGAWSQPKSKRKV; (SEQ ID NO: 10) causes the transported oligo to preferentially localize in the cytoplasm. This is most suitable for conventional antisense oligos that interfere with translation by a steric hindrance mechanism or for siRNA that function via interfering with translation, as well as for most dicer substrates or siRNA. In the MPG delivery system, these peptides are incorporated into nanoparticles that combine with oligos by charge/charge interaction.
    (3) Penetratin and EB1—See the following references. (Astriab-Fisher et al., Pharmaceutical Res 19: 744, 2002; Hudecz et al., Med Res Rev 25: 679, 2005; Lindgren et al., Bioconjugate Chem 11: 619, 2000; Meade et al., Adv Drug Delivery Rev 59: 134, 2007; Meade and Dowdy Adv Drug Delivery Rev 60: 530, 2008; Jones et al., Br J Pharmacol 145: 1093, 2005; Lundberg et al., FASEB J 21: 2664, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 7,329,638, US 2005/0042753, US 2007/0105775, WO 2007/095152, WO 2008/008476, WO 2006/029078, WO 2006/0222657, WO2008/022046, WO 2006/053683, WO 2004/048545, WO 2008/093982)—Penetratin sequences include but are not limited to the following: RQIKIWFQNRRMKWKK (SEQ ID NO: 11) and RQIKIWFQNRRMKWKKGGC (SEQ ID NO:12). EB1 which has been modified from penetratin in part by inserting histidine residues in strategic spots in the peptide in order to add increased endosomolytic activity to the parent CPP. EB1 sequences include but are not limited to the following: LIRLWSHLIHIWFQNRRLKWKKK (SEQ ID NO:13) Penetratin or EB1 can be used as a fusion peptide with enhanced CPP activity where the fusion partner is selected from peptides derived from the following group: (a) hemagglutinin esterase fusion protein (HEF) from influenza C virus; (b) HA2 and its analogs, see below and as an example of such a fusion peptide the following sequence: GLFGAIAGFIENGWEGMIDGRQIKIWFQNRRMKWKK (SEQ ID NO: 14); (c) transmembrane glycoproteins from filovirus, rabies virus, see below, vesicular stomatitis virus or Semliki Forest virus; (d) fusion polypeptide of sendai virus, FFGAVIGTIALGVATA SEQ ID NO: 15) human respiratory syncytial virus, FLGFLLGVGSAIASGV (SEQ ID NO: 16), HIV gp41, GVFVLGFLGFLATAGS (SEQ ID NO: 17), ebola GP2, GAAIGLAWIPYFGPAA, (SEQ ID NO: 18) See WO 2008/022046), measles virus, Newcastle disease virus, visna virus, murine leukemia virus, human T-cell leukemia virus, simian immunodeficiency virus; or (e) M2 protein of influenza A virus.
    (4) VP22—See the following references. (Suzuki et al., J Mol Cell Cardiology 36: 603, 2004; Hudecz et al., Med Res Rev 25: 679, 2005; Meade et al., Adv Drug Delivery Rev 59: 134, 2007; Meade and Dowdy Adv Drug Delivery Rev 60: 530, 2008; Jones et al., Br J Pharmacol 145: 1093, 2005; Xiong et al., BMC Neuroscience 8: 50, 2007; Lemken et al., Mol Ther 15: 310, 2007; Bamdad and Bell, Iran Biomed J 11: 53, 2007; Greco et al., Gene Ther 12: 974, 2005; Aints et al., J Gene Med 1: 275, 1999; U.S. Pat. No. 7,329,638, US 2005/0042753, US 2007/0105775, WO 2007/095152, WO 2008/008476, WO 2006/029078, WO 2006/0222657, WO2008/022046, WO 2006/053683, WO 2004/048545)—VR22 sequences include for example: DAATATRGRSAASRPTERPRAPARSASRPRRPVD (or E) (SEQ ID NO: 19). In addition to being a potent CPP suitable for use with a wide variety of tissue and cell types, VP22 has the added ability to shuttle the oligo to secondary cells after having delivered it to an initial set of cells. VP22 can be used as a fusion peptide with enhanced CPP activity where the fusion partner is selected from peptides derived from the following group: (a) HEF from influenza C virus; (b) HA2 and its analogs; (c) transmembrane glycoproteins from filovirus, rabies virus, vesicular stomatitis virus or Semliki Forest virus; (d) fusion polypeptide of sendai virus, human respiratory syncytial virus, measles virus, Newcastle disease virus, visna virus, murine leukemia virus, human T-cell leukemia virus, simian immunodeficiency virus; or (e) M2 protein of influenza A virus.
  • VP22 has been shown to facilitate penetration of the blood brain barrier. See Kretz et al., Mol Ther 7: 659, (2003). VP22 can also be employed to deliver oligos to heart tissue. See Suzuki et al., J Mol Cell Cardiology 36: 603, 2004. Xiong et al., Hum Gene Ther 18: 490, 2007 report that VP22 peptides also have utility for targeting skeletal muscle. Kretz et al., Mol Ther 7: 659, 2003 have described the use of VP22 peptides for facilitating delivery to the retina.
  • (5) Model amphipathic peptide (MAP)—See the following references. (Hudecz et al., Med Res Rev 25: 679, 2005; Meade et al., Adv Drug Delivery Rev 59: 134, 2007; Meade and Dowdy Adv Drug Delivery Rev 60: 530, 2008; Jones et al., Br J Pharmacol 145: 1093, 2005; Drin et al., AAPS PharmSci 4: 1, 2002, WO2008/022046, WO 2004/048545, WO 2008/093982)—MAP has broad application as a CPP and its peptide sequences include, but are not limited to, KLAKLLALKALKAALKLA (SEQ ID NO: 20) and KLALKLALKALKAALKLA (SEQ ID NO: 21).
    (6) Pep-1—See the following references. (Morris et al., Nature Biotech 19: 1173, 2001; Kim et al., J Biochem Mol Biol 39: 642, 2006; Choi et al., Mol Cells 20: 401, 2005; An et al., Mol Cells 25: 55, 2008; Munoz-Morris et al., Biochem Biophys Res Commun 355: 877, 2007; Choi et al., Free Radic Biol Med 41: 1058, 2006; Cho et al., Neurochem Int 52: 659, 2008; An et al., FEBS J 275: 1296, 2008; Lee et al., BMB Rep 41: 408, 2008; Yune et al., Free Radic Biol Med published online ahead of print Jul. 27, 2008; Eum et al., Free Radic Biol Med 37: 1656, 2004; Weller et al., Biochem 44: 15799, 2005; Choi et al., FEBS Lett 580: 6755, 2006; Gros et al., Biochim Biophys Acta 1753: 384, 2006; US 2003/0119725, U.S. Pat. No. 6,841,535, US 2007/0105775, WO 2008/093982)—Pep-1 sequences include, but are not limited to, KETWWETWWTEWSQPKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 22). Pep-1 is a CPP that can be operably linked to nanoparticles capable of delivery of oligos to the cytoplasm of cells. In addition to numerous other tissues and cell types, Pep-1 can be successfully used as a CPP for the delivery of oligos and other large charged molecules to intracellular compartments of brain and spinal cord and cells. Such uses include the oligo treatment of various neurological disorders including but not limited to the following: ischemia-reperfusion injury (including stroke), spinal cord injury amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease.
    (7) Pep-1 Related Peptides—See the following US patent applications and issued patent. (US 2003/0119725, U.S. Pat. No. 6,841,535, US 2007/0105775)—Pep-1 belongs to a series of related CPPs that are effective carriers or carrier components for the delivery of potent oligos into intracellular compartments. Pep-2 has the sequence KETWFETWFTEWSQPKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 23). Two amino acid sequence patterns have been observed in closely related peptides with CPP activity. In these peptides, the term Xaa refers to a position in the sequence where either any amino acid or no amino acid is acceptable. The sequence pattern that includes Pep-1 is the following: KXaaXaaWWETWWXaaXaaXaaSQPKKXaaRKXaa (SEQ ID NO: 24). Additional peptides in this family include the following sequences: KETWWETWWTEWSQPKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 25), KETWWETWWTEASQPKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 26), KETWWETWWETWSQPKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 27), KETWWETWTWSQPKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 28) and KWWETWWETWSQPKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 29). The closely related pattern is as follows: KETWWETWWXaaXaaWSQPKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 30).
    (8) Fusion sequence-based protein (FBP)—See the following references. (Hudecz et al., Med Res Rev 25: 679, 2005; Drin et al., AAPS PharmSci 4: 1, 2002; WO 2004/048545)—FBP peptide sequences include but are not limited to GALFLGWLGAAGSTM (SEQ ID NO: 31) and GALFLGWLGAAGSTMGAWSQPKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 32) where the second sequence ends with a nuclear localization sequence from SV40 T antigen.
    (9) bPrPp—See Hudecz et al., Med Res Rev 25: 679, 2005; Magzoub et al., Biochim Biophys Acta 1716: 126, 2005; Magzoub et al., Biochem 44: 14890, 2005; Magzoub et al., Biochem Biophys Res Commun 348: 379, 2006; and Biverstahl et al., Biochem 43: 14940, 2004). bPrPp is a CPP based on peptides that are found in bovine prions and includes the following sequence: MVKSKIGSWILVLFVAMWSDVGLCKKRPKP (SEQ ID NO: 33). This peptide has endosomolytic as well as CPP activity.
    (10) PG-1 (peptide protegrin)—See Drin et al., AAPS PharmSci 4: 1, 2002 Adenot et al., Chemotherapy 53: 73, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 7,399,727).—PG-1 is a CPP originally isolated from porcine leukocytes. Use of PG-1 peptides to deliver the oligos of the invention enhances intracellular delivery thereof. Such PG-1 containing molecules are sometimes referred to as SynB vectors. These vectors typically employ protegrin based peptides of varying lengths, for example, SynB1 (RGGRLSYSRRRFSTSTGR; (SEQ ID NO: 34) and SynB3 (RRLSYSRRRF; (SEQ ID NO:35). In addition to numerous other tissue and cell types, PG-1 and SynB vectors comprising CPPs based on Syn B family peptides can be used to increase transport of oligos across the blood brain barrier.
    (11) Transportan and Analogues Such as TP-7, TP-9 and TP-10—See the following references. (Soomets et al., Biochim Biophys Acta 1467: 165, 2000; Hudecz et al., Med Res Rev 25: 679, 2005; Fisher et al., Gene Ther 11: 1264, 2004; Rioux, Curr Opin Investig Drugs 2: 364, 2001; El-Andaloussi et al., J Control Release 110: 189, 2005; Lindgren et al., Bioconjugate Chem 11: 619, 2000; Pooga et al., FASEB J 12: 67, 1998, WO2008/022046, WO 2006/053683, WO 2004/048545, WO 2008/093982)—Transportin is approximately 27 amino acids in length and contains approximately 12 functional amino acids from the neuropeptide galanin and approximately 14 amino acids from the mast cell degranulating peptide mastoparan, a CPP in its own right. Typically these peptides are connected by a lysine. Transportan sequences include but are not limited to the following: GWTLNSAGYLLGKINLKALAALAKKIL (SEQ ID NO: 36). The TP-10 sequence is the shortest of the transportan group, TP-7, TP-9 and TP-10 and is as follows: AGYLLGKINLKALAALAKKIL (SEQ ID NO: 37).
    (12) Protamine and Protamine-fragment/SV40 peptides—See Benimetskaya et al., Bioconjugate Chem 13: 177, 2002; U.S. Pat. No. 5,792,645, U.S. Pat. No. 7,329,638, and US 2005/0042753. Protamine-fragment/SV40 peptides are bifunctional CPPs composed of a C-terminal protamine-fragment that contains a DNA binding domain and an N-terminal nuclear localization signal derived from SV40 large T-antigen. One variant is called s-protamine-NLS and has sequences that include but are not limited to, R6WGR6-PKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 38) while another, 1-protamine-NLS, has sequences that include R4SR6FGR-6VWR4-PKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 39). In addition to being combined with peptides from SV40, protamine itself has the capacity to promote uptake of oligos into intracellular compartments.
    (13) Polyethylenimine (PEI)—See the following references. (Intra and Salem, J Controlled Release 130: 129, 2008; Ogris et al., J Biol Chem 276: 47550, 2001; Breunig et al., J Gene Med 7: 1287, 2005; Loftus et al., Neurosci 139: 1061, 2006; Wang et al., Mol Therapy 3: 658, 2001; Boeckle et al., J Control Release 112: 240, 2006; U.S. Pat. No. 5,792,645, US 2003/0027784, US 2004/0185564, US 2008/0207553, WO 9602655, WO 00/59548, WO 2006/041617, WO 2004/029213, WO 03/099225, WO 2007/0135372, WO 94/01448)—PEI comes in linear and branched forms as well as in a low molecular weight form (<50,000 Daltons). It is a CPP-mimetic that has a particular advantage over other CPPs in that it is not subject to proteolysis. In addition to iv and im routes of administration, oligos associated with a PEI containing carrier can be administered by aerosol delivery via the respiratory tract. Conjugation of PEI to certain melittin analogs provides added endosomolytic activity and, therefore, enhanced oligo delivery to intracellular sites where oligos can carry out their intended function. PEI, as for most if not all CPPs, can be incorporated into nanoparticles to further promote the efficiency of oligo delivery to intracellular compartments. The specific methods for such CPP incorporation depend on the type of nanoparticle and are discussed in the reference documents provided herein for each type of nanoparticle. PEI can also be used to facilitate delivery of a oligo to the brain following intranasal administration. Also see Bhattacharya et al., Pharmaceut Res 25: 605, 2007; Zhang et al., J Gene Med 4: 183, 2002; Boado et al., Biotechnol Bioeng 96: 381, 2007; Coloma et al., Pharm Res 17: 266, 2000; US 2008/0051564, WO 94/13325, WO 99/00150, WO 2004/050016).
    (14) Insulin and insulin-like growth factor receptor ligands—See Basu and Wickstrom, Bioconjugate Chem 8: 481, 1997; Zhang et al., J Gene Med 4: 183, 2002; Boado et al., Biotechnol Bioeng 96: 381, 2007; Coloma et al., Pharm Res 17: 266, 2000; Soos et al., Biochem J 235: 199, 1986; US 2008/0051564, WO 99/00150, WO 2004/050016 and U.S. Pat. No. 7,388,079)—Human Insulin receptor (HIR) monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are directed to the human insulin receptor. Other suitable ligands include but are not limited to insulin, IGF-1 and IGF-2 or functional fragments thereof. Examples of IGF-1 binding peptides that can be used for this purpose include but are not limited to JB3 (D-C-S-K-A-P-K-L-P-A-A-Y-C (SEQ ID NO: 40) where D denotes the D stereoisomer of C and where all the other stereoisomers are L) and JB9 (G-G-G-G-G-C-S-K-C; SEQ ID NO: 41). Amide bond linked oligos can be inserted between the first and second Gs of JB9. When incorporated into a carrier, these ligands can be used to deliver oligos into cells that express this receptor. Such cells include but are not limited to liver, adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, brain, kidney and pancreas.
  • Insulin and insulin-like growth factor receptor ligands as described U.S. Pat. No. 4,801,575, WO 99/00150, WO 2004/050016, WO 2008/022349, WO 2005/035550, WO 2007/044323) are useful in methods targeting the CNS for delivery of oligos specific for desired CNS targets. HIR monoclonal antibodies (HIR MAbs) are able to both cross the blood brain barrier as well as brain cell membranes. When conjugated to an oligo or incorporated into a carrier, such molecules facilitate transport of oligos across the blood brain barrier. Other suitable ligands include IGF-1 and IGF-2 molecules and functional fragments thereof.
  • (15) Poly-Lysine—See Zhu et al., Biotechnol Appl Biochem 39: 179, 2004; Parker et al., J Gene Med 7: 1545, 2005; Stewart et al., Mol Pharm 50: 1487, 1996; U.S. Pat. No. 5,547,932, U.S. Pat. No. 5,792,645, WO 2006/053683, WO 2004/029213, and WO 93/04701. Poly-lysine consisting of approximately 3-20 amino acids can be used (D and L lysine stereoisomers both work) as carriers or as part of more complex carriers to transport oligos into intracellular compartments where they can express their intended therapeutic effects. The CPP activity of poly-lysine can also be enhanced by glycosylation.
    (16) Histidine-Lysine Peptides—See the following references. (Leng et al., Drug News Perspect 20: 77, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 7,070,807, U.S. Pat. No. 7,163,695, US 2008/0171025, WO 01/47496, WO 2004/048421, WO 2006/060182)—Histidine-Lysine Peptides useful for the practice of the present invention come in both linear and branched forms. They may also be conjugated to polyethylene glycol and vascular specific ligands where they are particularly useful for delivering oligos to the intracellular compartments of cells in solid tumors.
    (17) Poly-Arginine—See Meade et al., Adv Drug Delivery Rev 59: 134, 2007; Meade and Dowdy Adv Drug Delivery Rev 60: 530, 2008; Jones et al., Br J Pharmacol 145: 1093, 2005; WO 2007/095152, WO 2008/008476, WO 2006/029078, WO 2006/0222657, WO 2006/053683, and WO 2004/029213. Poly-Arginine consisting of approximately 3-20 amino acids can be used (D and L lysine stereoisomers both work) as a fusion peptide with enhanced CPP activity where the fusion partner is selected from peptides derived from the following group: (a) HEF from influenza C virus; (b) HA2 and its analogs; (c) transmembrane glycoproteins from filovirus, rabies virus, vesicular stomatitis virus or Semliki Forest virus; (d) fusion polypeptide of sendai virus, human respiratory syncytial virus, measles virus, Newcastle disease virus, visna virus, murine leukemia virus, human T-cell leukemia virus, simian immunodeficiency virus; or (e) M2 protein of influenza A virus.
    (18) NL4-10K—This molecule is described in Zeng et al., J Gene Med 6: 1247, 2004 and US 2005/0048606.—The NL4-10K peptide is based on nerve growth factor and has the sequence CTTTHTFVKALTMDGKQAAWRFIRIDTACKKKKKKKKKK (SEQ ID NO: 42) and is typically used in a hairpin configuration. It facilitates uptake of oligos into cells and tissues that express the nerve growth factor receptor TrkA. Alternative peptides based on nerve growth factor suitable for this purpose include, the following: TTATDIKGKEVMV (SEQ ID NO: 43), EVNINNSVF (SEQ ID NO: 44), RGIDSKHWNSY (SEQ ID NO: 45) and TTTHTFVKALTMDGKQAAWRFIRIDTA (SEQ ID NO: 46). Cells expressing TrkA include but are not limited to hepatocellular carcinoma, prostate cancer, neuroblastoma, melanoma, pancreatic cancer as well as non-malignant lung, pancreas, smooth muscle and prostate. NL4-10K peptides are suitable for getting oligos across the blood brain barrier and into brain cells. US 2005/0048606 also provides CPPs suitable for promoting oligo uptake into cells that express the TrkB and TrkC receptors.
    (19) S413-PV—See Mano et al., Biochem J 390: 603, 2005 and Mano et al., Biochimica Biophysica Acta 1758: 336, 2006.—S413-PV is a CPP that has a pronounced capacity to transport substances such as oligos into cells without passing through endosomes. An exemplary sequence is ALWKTLLKKVLKAPKKKRKVC (SEQ ID NO: 47).
    (20) Sweet Arrow Peptide (SAP)—Foerg et al., Biochem 44: 72, 2005 described the SAP.—An exemplary SAP sequence is VRLPPPVRLPPPVRLPPP (SEQ ID NO: 48).
    (21) Human Calcitonin Derived Peptide hCT(9-32)—See Foerg et al., Biochem 44: 72, 2005.—hCT(9-32) has the following sequence LGTYTQDFNKFHTFPQTAIGVGAP, (SEQ ID NO: 49).
    (22) ARF based CPPs—See WO 2008/063113.—ARF based CPPs are 15-26 amino acids long comprising at least amino acids 1-14 of a mature mammalian ARF protein or a scrambled or partially inverted sequence thereof, optionally linked to one or more members of the group consisting of a cell-homing peptide, a receptor ligand, a linker and a peptide spacer comprising a selective protease cleavage site coupled to an inactivating peptide. A scrambled or partially inverted sequence of ARF defines a sequence wherein the same amino acids in the ARF sequence are included but one or several amino acids are in different positions so that part of the sequence is inverted or the whole sequence is scrambled. ARF sequences suitable for this use include but are not limited to human p14ARF and murine p19ARF. Suitable peptides for this use include but are not limited to M918 (MVTVLFRRLRIRRACGPPRVRV; (SEQ ID NO: 50), M917 (MVRRFLVTLRIRRACGPPRVRV; (SEQ ID NO: 51) and M872 (FVTRGCPRRLVARLIRVMVPRR; (SEQ ID NO: 52).
    (23) Kaposi FGF signal sequences—See Hudecz et al., Med Res Rev 25: 679, 2005; WO 2008/022046, and WO 2008/093982.—Kaposi FGF signal sequences include but are not limited to: AAVALLPAVLLALLAP (SEQ ID NO: 53) and AAVLLPVLLPVLLAAP (SEQ ID NO: 54).
    (24) Human beta3 integrin signal sequence—See WO 2008/022046.—Human beta3 integrin signal sequences include: VTVLALGALAGVGVG, (SEQ ID NO: 55).
    (25) Gp41 fusion sequence—See WO 2008/022046, and WO 2006/053683.)—gp41 fusion sequences include: GALFLGWLGAAGSTMGA (SEQ ID NO: 56) which can be used as a CPP or combined with other CPPs to increase their endosomolytic function.
    (26) Caiman crocodylus Ig(v) light chain—See the following references (Drin et al., AAPS PharmSci 4: 1, 2002; WO 2008/022046, WO 2006/053683, and WO 2004/048545.—Caiman crocodylus Ig(v) light chain sequences include: MGLGLHLLVLAAALQ (SEQ ID NO: 57) and MGLGLHLLVLAAALQGAWSQPKKKRKV (SEQ ID NO: 58) where the second sequence ends with a nuclear localization sequence from SV40 T antigen.
    (27) hCT-derived peptide—See WO 2008/022046.—hCT-derived peptide sequences include: LGTYTQDFNKFHTFPQTAIGVGAP (SEQ ID NO: 59).
    (28) Loligomer—See WO 2008/022046.—An exemplary loligomer has the following sequence: TPPKKKRKVEDPKKKK (SEQ ID NO: 60).
    (29) Anthrax toxin derivatives—See the following references. (Arora and Leppla, 3 Biol Chem 268: 3334, 1993; Arora and Leppla, Infect Immun 62: 4955, 1994; Bradley et al., Nature 414: 225, 2001; Kushner et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100: 6652, 2003; Ballard et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 93: 12531, 1996; Zhang et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101: 16756, 2004; Blanke et al., Proc Natl. Acad Sci USA 93: 8437, 1996; Melnyk and Collier, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103: 9802, 2006; Krantz et al., Science 309: 777, 2005; Liu et al., Cell Microbiol 9: 977, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 5,677,274, US 2003/0202989, US 2005/0220807, WO 97/23236, WO 03/087129, WO 2006/091233, and WO 94/18332)—Receptors for anthrax toxin are broadly found on the surfaces of various cell types. Anthrax toxin protective antigen (PA) is the portion of the anthrax toxin that is normally responsible for delivering the toxin to the cytoplasm of cells. PA functions both as a CPP and as an endosomolytic agent, is nontoxic, and can be used to promote the delivery of oligos to the cytoplasm of cells. While PA is suitable, engineered peptides based on those regions of the PA domains directly involved in CPP and endosomolysis, along with certain other anthrax toxin sequences which augment these functions are most preferred. Anthrax lethal factor and fragments thereof also can be used to deliver oligos into the cytoplasm of cells. Suitable engineered peptides based on anthrax sequences include, but are not limited to, ligation of a portion of the lethal factor sequence that contains the PA binding site with a sequence called the entry motif as provided by WO 2006/091233. Such engineered peptides can optionally be attached to a nuclear localization sequence. Oligos linked to polycationic tracts, e.g., polylysine, polyarginine and/or polyhistidine can further potentiate delivery of oligos into the cytoplasm of cells.
    (30) Ligands for transferrin receptor—See the following references. (U.S. Pat. No. 4,801,575, U.S. Pat. No. 5,547,932, U.S. Pat. No. 5,792,645, WO 2004/020404, WO 2004/020405, WO 2004/020454, WO 2004/020588, WO 2005/121179, WO 2006/049983, WO 2006/096515, WO 2008/033395, WO 2008/072075, WO 2008/022349, WO 2005/035550, WO 2007/044323 and WO 91/04753)—Ligands for transferrin receptor can be used to transport oligos into cells which express this receptor. Such ligands include but are not limited to transferrin based peptides but can include other molecules such as peptides based on melanocortin, an integrin or glucagon-like peptide 1. Ligands for the transferrin receptor can therefore be operably linked to the oligos of the invention to facilitate transport of the therapeutic across the blood brain barrier in disorders where delivery to the CNS is desirable.
    (31) Ligands for transmembrane domain protein 30A—See WO 2007/036021—Ligands for transmembrane domain protein 30A can be used to transport oligos into cells that express this protein such as brain endothelium and can also be used to advantage to transport oligo across the blood brain barrier. Such ligands include antibodies and antibody fragments that bind the TMEM30A antigen as well as any one of several peptide ligands set forth in WO 2007/036021.
    (32) Ligands for asialoglycoprotein receptor—See the following references. (Li et al., Sci China C Life Sci 42: 435, 1999; Huang et al., Int J Pharm 360: 197, 2008; Wang et al., J Drug Target 16: 233, 2008; Khorev et al., Bioorg Med Chem 16: 5216, 2008; WO 93/04701)—Ligands for asialoglycoprotein receptor can be used to transport oligos into cells that express them, such as liver cells.
    (33) Actively Transported Nutrients—See U.S. Pat. No. 6,528,631.—Actively transported nutrients can be directly conjugated to oligos or associated with more complex carrier structures for the purpose of transporting said oligo into intracellular compartments. Exemplary nutrients for this purpose include, but are not limited to, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and cholesterol.
    (34) UTARVE—See the following references. (Smith et al., International J Oncology 17: 841, 2000; WO 99/07723, WO 00/46384)—UTARVE refers to a vector for the delivery of oligos into the cytoplasm of cells where the vector comprises a CPP or a ligand for a cell surface receptor that is internalized with the receptor and an influenza virus hemagglutinin peptide with endosomolytic activity. The CPP or cell surface receptor ligand can include any of those described herein. In addition, the ligand can be adenovirus penton peptide, epidermal growth factor receptor or the GM1 ganglioside receptor for cholera toxin B subunit. In addition, the vector may also include a polylysylleucyl peptide to provide additional oligo attachment sites and/or a nuclear localization signal. Adenovirus penton base proteins contain a receptor binding site motif (RGD) for attachment to integrins. Integrins are ubiquitous cell receptors. As used herein adenovirus penton base protein refers to the entire adenovirus penton base protein or to fragments thereof that include at least amino acids 1-354 that contain the receptor binding motif. The particular adenovirus from which the adenovirus penton base protein is derived is not critical and examples of such adenoviruses include but are not limited to Ad2, Ad3 and Ad5. These sequences are well known in the art. The influenza hemagglutinin peptide with endosomolytic activity is described elsewhere herein. The polylysylleucyl peptide has the sequence (KL)m where the lysine residues interact with the oligo while the leucine residues decrease the potential steric hindrance resulting from adjacent lysine residues. The value of m is not critical but generally represents from 1 to 300 alternating residues and preferably from 3 to 100. Should nuclear localization be desirable, a nuclear localization sequence, such as those discussed above, or otherwise well known in the art, may be employed.
    (35) Antimicrobial peptides and their analogs—See the following references. (Sandgren et al., J Biol Chem 279: 17951, 2004; US 2004/0132970; US 2002/0082195, US 2004/0072990, US 2006/0069022, US 2007/0037744, US 2007/0065908, US 2007/0149448, US 2006/0128614, WO 2005/040201, WO 2006/011792, WO 2006/067402, WO 2006/076742, WO 2007/076162, WO 2007/148078, WO 2008/022444, WO 2006/050611, WO 2008/0125359)—Numerous antimicrobial peptides are naturally occurring and are involved in innate immunity. These peptides are typically cationic and function as CPPs and therefore can be harnessed to assist in the delivery of oligos. The receptors for antimicrobial peptides are the cell surface proteoglycans, a major source of cell surface polyanions. While they are cytotoxic to microbes, antimicrobial peptides typically are much less toxic to mammalian cells. One such peptide is LL-37 which has the following sequence: LLGDFFRKSKEKIGKEFKRIVQRIKDFLRNLVPRTES (SEQ ID NO: 61). Other examples involve peptides based on the dermaseptin family of antimicrobial peptides found on the skin of frogs of the Phylloinedusinae genus. Such peptides include, for example: ALWKTLLKKVLKA (SEQ ID NO: 62), ALWKTLLKKVLKAPKKKRKV, (SEQ ID NO: 63), PKKKRKVALWKTLLKKVLKA, (SEQ ID NO: 64) and RQARRNRRRALWKTLLKKVLKA, (SEQ ID NO: 65). Other suitable antimicrobial peptides or their analogs with CPP activity include but are not limited to novispirins, MUC7-12, CRAMP, PR-39, cryptdin-4, HBD-2, dermcidin, cecropin P1, maganin-2, granulysin and FALL-39. Such antimicrobial peptides are being developed as antimicrobial agents but also can be employed to enhance oligo delivery into cells. Analogs of antimicrobial peptides include but are not limited to those with D amino acid substitutions for their L stereoisomer counterparts for the purpose of reducing protease attack.
    (36) Screened products of peptide and MAb fragment display libraries—See the following references. (Thomas et al., Pharmaceutical Res 24: 1564, 2007; WO 01/15511, WO 03/068942, WO 2007/143711, WO 97/17613, WO 97/17614)—A series of CPPs and MAb fragments with the capacity to transport oligos into a broad range of cell types in a manner that promotes their biological activity have been identified through a series of screening steps starting with peptide or MAb fragment libraries. Indeed, a series of antibody single chain variable fragments (scFvs) with the capacity to bind to endothelial cells have been developed. Such scFvs can be used to advantage to facilitate transport oligos into the endothelium. It is clear from such work that a wide range of effective CPP for the purposes of the present invention are readily available. A series of scFvs with the capacity to bind to endothelial cells and to cause the transport oligos across the blood brain barrier have been developed and are described in the references provided.
    (37) Designer CPPs—See the following references. (Rhee and Davis J Biol Chem 281: 1233, 2006; Kim et al., Exp Cell Res 312: 1277, 2006; Kaihatsu et al., Biochem 43: 14340, 2004; Hudecz et al., Med Res Rev 25: 679, 2005; Adenot et al., Chemotherapy 53: 73, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 5,547,932, U.S. Pat. No. 7,329,638, U.S. Pat. No. 7,101,844, U.S. Pat. No. 6,200,801, U.S. Pat. No. 5,972,901, US 2005/0154188, US 2006/0228407, US 2004/0152653, US 2005/0042753, US 2003/0119725, US 2005/0239687, US 2005/0106598, US 2007/0129305, U.S. Pat. No. 6,841,535, US 2008/0182973, US 2009/0029387, WO 2007/069090, WO 00/34308, WO 00/62067, WO 2007/095152, WO 2007/056153, WO 2008/022046, US 2008/0234183, WO 2005/007854, WO 2007/053512, WO 2008/093982, WO 03/106491, WO 2004/016274, WO 03/097671, WO 01/08708, WO 97/46100, WO 06126865)—A large number of CPPs have been rationally designed based on the following: (i) a substantial number of potent CPPs have been identified beginning with those of natural origin; and (ii) effective CPPs typically can function as a prototype for other CPPs that share a set of similar properties related to amino acid composition, sequence patters and size. Such CPPs have subsequently been screened for activity and particularly active CPPs identified and tested in various carrier arrangements of the types provided herein. In addition, Hallbrink et al., have studied a broad range of CPPs and have developed comprehensive rules that describe CPP structure and function. They then applied these rules to generate a large number of Designer CPPs as described in US 2008/0234183 which claims priority to WO 03/106491. Design features that can be individually or in some instances in combination with one or more other such features can be used to generate designer CPPs are provided below:
    (a) The design parameters disclosed in US 2008/0234183 include a bulk property value ZΣ, a term called Bulkha that reflects the number of non-hydrogen atoms (e.g. C, N, S and O) in the side chains of the amino acids and a term hdb standing for the number of accepting hydrogen bonds for the side chains of the amino acids. Some examples of these Designer CPPs include the peptide sequenced IVIAKLKA (SEQ ID NO: 66) and IVIAKLKANLMCKTCRLAK (SEQ ID NO: 67);
    (b) Those that include the peptide sequence KVKKQ (SEQ ID NO:68);
    (c) Those that include the D-amino acid peptide sequence D(AAKK)4 (SEQ ID NO: 69);
    (d) Those that include the sequence PFVYLI (SEQ ID NO: 70) including but not limited to the sequence CSIPPEVKFNKPFVYLI (SEQ ID NO: 71) that has been termed the C105Y peptide;
    (e) polycations consisting of various combinations of amines, substituted amines, guanidinium, substituted guanidinium, histidyl or substituted histidyl and organized into one of 60 different patters where a specific patterns repeats one to about 20 times (WO 2005/007854). These polycations can be directly attached to an oligo, attached to an oligo through a linker or indirectly associated through pRNA, nanoparticles, nanoparticles based on dendrimers, nanolattices, nanovesicles or micelles;
    (f) An arginine-rich peptide of 8-16 subunits selected from X subunits, Y subunits and optional Z subunits including at least six X subunits, at least two Y subunits and at most three Z subunits where >50% of said subunits are X subunits and where (i) each X subunit independently represents arginine or an arginine analog said analog being a cationic alpha-amino acid comprising a side chain of the structure R1N═C(NH2)R2 where R1 is H or R; R2 is RNH2, NHR or NR2 where R is lower alkyl or lower alkenyl and may further include oxygen or nitrogen; R1 and R2 may together from a ring; and the side chain is linked to said amino acid via R1 or R2; (ii) each Y subunit independently represents a neutral amino acid —C(O)—(CHR)n-NH- where either n is 2 to 7 and each R is independently H or methyl or n is 1 and R is a neutral side chain selected from substituted or unsubstituted alkyl, alkenyl, alkynyl, aryl and aralkyl wherein said neutral side chain selected from substituted alkyl, alkenyl and alkynyl, includes at most one heteroatom for every four carbon atoms; and (iii) each Z subunit independently represents an amino acid selected from alanine, asparagine, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, histidine, lysine, methionine, serine and threonine.
    (g) Sequences with the one of the following patterns were the term Xaa denotes either any amino acid or a position where an amino acid is not necessary with the noted preferred exceptions: XaaXaaXaaKKRRXaaXaaXaaXaaXaaXaaTWXaaETWWXaaXaaXaa (SEQ ID NO: 72) (preferably at least one of the positions eight through thirteen is P, Q or G), YGFKKRRXaaXaaQXaaXaaXaaTWXaaETWWTE (SEQ ID NO: 73) (preferably Xaa of position 16 is not omitted and preferably is an aromatic hydrophobic amino acid and is most preferably W) and YGFKKXRRPWTWWETWWTEX (SEQ ID NO: 74) (preferably Xaa in position six is a hydrophobic amino acid, more preferably an aromatic hydrophobic amino acid and that the Xaa in position twenty is preferably omitted.
    (h) A CPP comprising an amino acid sequence according to the general formula (X1X2B1B2X3B3X4)n (SEQ ID NO: 75) wherein X1-X4 are independently any hydrophobic amino acid; where in B1, B2 and B3 are independently any basic amino acid; and wherein n is between 1 and 10.
    (i) A CPP comprising an amino acid sequence according to either the general formula Q1-X1—(X2)2—(X3)2—X2—X4—X3—X4—X2—X4—X3—(X2)2-Q2 (SEQ ID NO: 76) or Q1-(X2)2—X3—X4—X2—X4—X3—X4—X2—(X3)2—(X2)2—X1-Q2 (SEQ ID NO: 77) where in one of Q1 and Q2 is H and the other of Q1 and Q2 is a covalent attachment to a linking moiety further attached to an oligo or to a carrier complex associated with an oligo; each X1 is, independently, a naturally occurring or non-naturally occurring amino acid; each X2, is independently, a D or L amino acid selected from lysine, histidine, homolysine, diaminobutyric acid, arginine, ornithine or homoarginine; each X3 is, independently, a D or L amino acid selected from alanine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, cysteine, or methionine; and each X4 is, independently, a D or L amino acid selected from lysine, histidine, homolysine, diaminobutyric acid, arginine, ornithine, homoarginine, alanine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, cysteine, methionine, glycine, serine, threonine, aspartate, glutamate, asparagine or glutamine.
    (j) Those based on Syn B family peptides and generated using a computational model of cellular uptake followed by demonstrated ability to transport large charge molecules into intracellular compartments.
    (k) CPPs have been designed that preferentially deliver oligos to the cytoplasm of cells rather than to the nucleus. The CPP sequences useful for this purpose include but are not limited to the following sequence A-X1—X2—B—X3—X4—X5—X6—X7—X8 (SEQ ID NO: 78) wherein A is an amino acid exhibiting relatively high freedom at the Φ and ω rotations of a peptide unit such as G or A, B is a basic amino acid and at least 3 residues of X1—X2—B—X3—X4—X5—X6—X7—X8 are R or K. CPP sequences useful for this purpose also include but are not limited to the following related sequences: YGRRARRRRRR (SEQ ID NO: 79), YGRRARRRARR (SEQ ID NO: 80) and YGRRRRRRRRR (SEQ ID NO: 81).
  • For example, designer ligands and CPPs have been described in the following references. See Costantino et al., J Controlled Release 108: 84, (2005), WO 2006/061101; WO 2007/143711 and WO 2005/035550. Exemplary ligands include those with one of the following sequences: HAIYPRH (SEQ ID NO: 82) or THRPPMWSPVWP (SEQ ID NO: 83). A designer CPP with the sequence H2N-G-F-D-T-G-F-L-S-CONH2 (SEQ ID NO: 84), where D denotes the D stereoisomer of T and where all the other stereoisomers are L, that can be incorporated into nanoparticles suitable for transporting oligos across the blood brain barrier. A designer CPP with the sequence H2N-GF (specifically Phe-D)TGFLS-CONH2 (SEQ ID NO: 85) is well suited to carry oligos into the cytoplasm of endothelial cells.
  • (38) Designer polycations that are not peptides—See U.S. Pat. No. 6,583,301; WO 99/02191. Designer polycations that are not peptides have been produced and shown to transport large charged molecules into intracellular compartments. These include but are not limited to structures that contain bipolar lipids with cationic heads, a hydrophobic backbone and a hydrophilic tail with a detailed structure as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,583,301.
    (39) Rabies virus glycoprotein (RVG) peptide—(U.S. Pat. No. 7,329,638, US 2005/0042753, WO 2008/054544)—The RVG peptide has sequences that include but are not limited to YTIWMPENPRPGTPCDIFTNSRGKRASNG (SEQ ID NO: 86). When this peptide or a derivative or variant of it is used in a carrier for an oligo, it facilitates transport of the carrier/oligo complex across the blood brain barrier and into brain cells. In some embodiments the RVG peptide functions as a targeting agent and is conjugated to a carrier particle and an agent termed an effector agent (as defined by WO 2008/054544) that is associated with the carrier particle. In one embodiment said effector agent is a oligo. RVG may be used as the sole targeting agent or be used in combination with other targeting agents that include but are not limited to insulin, transferrin, insulin like growth factor, leptin, low density lipoprotein and fragments or peptidomimetics thereof. In some embodiments, the carrier particle is a lysosomal or polymeric nanoparticle, for example a liposome, polyarginine, protamine or a cyclodextrin-based nanoparticle. In alternative embodiments, the carrier particle is a CPP such as 11dR, 9dR, 7dR, 5dR or TAT or fragments thereof. 11dR, 9dR, 7dR and 5dR are polymeric arginine residues of varying length in these cases 11, 9, 7 and 5 arginines respectively.
    (40) Ligands for leptin receptor—(WO 2008/022349, WO 2005/035550, WO 2007/044323)—Ligands for leptin receptor can be used to transport oligos across the blood brain barrier.
    (41) Ligands for lipoprotein receptor—(U.S. Pat. No. 5,547,932, WO 2008/022349, WO 2007/044323)—Ligands for lipoprotein receptor can be used to transport oligos across the blood brain barrier.
    (42) Hemagglutinating virus of Japan (HVJ) envelope. See the following references. Zhang et al., Biochem Biophys Res Commun 373: 345, 2008; Yamada et al., Am J Physiol 271: R1212, 1996; Bai et al., Ann Thorac Surg 66: 814, 1998; Ogata et al., Curr Eye Res 18: 261, 1999; Matsuo et al., J Drug Target 8: 207, 2000; Tomita et al., J Gene Med 4: 527, 2002; Okano et al., Gene Ther 10: 1381, 2003; Parveen et al., Virology 314: 74, 2003; Ferrari et al., Gene Ther 11: 1659, 2004; Sasaki et al., Gene Ther 12: 203, 2005; Griesenbach et al., Biomaterials 29: 1533, 2008; Kaneda et al., Mol Ther 6: 219, 2002; Kaneda et al., Expert Opin Drug Deliv 5: 221, 2008; Mima et al., J Gene Med 7: 888, 2005; Shimbo et al., Biochem Biophys Res Commun 364: 423, 2007; Kaneda et al., Adv Genet 53: 307, 2005; Shimamura et al., Biochem Biophys Res Commun 300: 464, 2003; Morishita et al., Biochem Biophys Res Commun 334: 1121, 2005; Kotani et al., Curr Gene Ther 4: 183, 2004; Hagihara et al., Gene Ther 7: 759, 2000; Ohmori et al., Eur J Cardio-thoracic Surg 27: 768, 2005; Tsujie et al., Kidney Inter 59: 1390, 2001; Yonemitsu et al., Gene Ther 4: 631, 1997; U.S. Pat. No. 6,913,923, US 2003/0013195, US 2004/0219674, US 2005/0239188, US 2006/0002894, WO 95/30330. Tissues where improved oligo uptake can be achieved by HVJ containing delivery systems include but are not limited to CNS, cardiovascular, uterus, liver, spleen, periodontal, skin, lung, retina, kidney, lymphoid tissues, embryonic stem cells and various solid tumors. In addition, carriers based on the HVJ envelope can be used to transfer oligos across the blood brain barrier. Delivery has been via numerous routes including but not limited to topical, iv, intranasal, direct tissue injections including injection into amniotic fluid. This delivery system is particularly versatile and optionally includes nanoparticles and liposomes.
    (43) Heart homing peptides are described in WO 00/75174 and include: GGGVFWQ (SEQ ID NO: 87), HGRVRPH (SEQ ID NO: 88), VVLVTSS (SEQ ID NO: 89), CLHRGNSC (SEQ ID NO: 90) and CRSWNKADNRSC (SEQ ID NO: 91). These peptides can be directly conjugated to oligos or be incorporated into more complex carriers. Further, they can be conjugated to or indirectly associated with other CPPs provided herein. The CRSWNKADNRSC (SEQ ID NO: 92) peptide is particularly well suited to targeting regions of ischemia-reperfusion injury in the heart such as occurs in the treatment of heart attacks when the blood supply is medically restored.
    (44) Peptides that target the LOX-1 receptor as described in White et al., Hypertension 37: 449, 2001) are particularly suitable for targeting oligos to the endothelium. These peptides were initially selected from peptide libraries and then further screened for CPP activity. Examples include but are not limited to the following peptides: LSIPPKA (SEQ ID NO: 93), FQTPPQL (SEQ ID NO: 94) and LTPATAI (SEQ ID NO: 95). LOX-1 is up-regulated on dysfunctional endothelial cells such as those involved in hypertension, diabetes, inflammation, restenosis, septic shock, ischemia-reperfusion injury and atherosclerosis and thus such peptides are particularly well suited for concentrating oligos into this subset of cells to treat these and related medical conditions;
    (45) Peptide for ocular delivery (POD) is described in Johnson et al., Mol Ther 16: 107, 2008)—POD has the following sequence GGG(ARKKAAKA)4 (SEQ ID NO: 96) and is suitable for transporting oligos into the retina.
    (46) LFA-1 targeting moieties are described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,329,638, US patent application 2005/0042753, International application WO 2007/127219. Preferred targeting moieties are selected from the group consisting of an antibody or a functional fragment thereof having immunospecificity for LFA-2 or protamine or a functional fragment thereof such as a peptide with the sequence RSQSRSRYYRQRQRSRRRRRRS (SEQ ID NO: 97). Cells susceptible to LAF-1 targeting of oligos include leukocytes and nerve cells as well as a variety of cancer cell types including but not limited to breast, colon and pancreas.
    (47) P11-50—is described in WO 03/082213 and can be cross-linked and milled to generate nanoparticles to deliver oligos to cells such as phagocytes involved in inflammation such as but not limited to those involved in ischemia reperfusion injury, arthritis and in atherosclerotic plaques.
    (48) HA2 peptides are described in Dopheide et al., J Gen Virol 50: 329, 1980; Wang and El-Deiry, Trends Biotech 22: 431, 2004, Pichon et al., Antisense Nucleic Acid Drug Dev 7: 335, 1997; Daniels et al., Cell 40: 431, 1985; Navarro-Quiroga et al., Brain Res Mol Brain Res 105: 86, 2002; Cho et al., Biotechnol Appl Biochem 32: 21, 2000; Bailey et al., Biochim Biophys Acta 1324: 232, 1997; Steinhauer et al., J Virol 69: 6643, 1995; Sugita et al., Biochem Biophys Res Comm 363: 107, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 5,547,932, WO 00/46384, WO 99/07723, and WO2008/022046. HA2 peptides can be employed in the compositions and methods of the invention to enhance endosomolysis to facilitate increased levels of oligo delivery. Influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) is a trimer of identical subunits each of which contains two polypeptide chains HA1 and HA2. Functional HA2 sequences include but are not limited to: GLFGAIAGFIENGWEG (SEQ ID NO: 98), GLFGAIAGFIGN(or G)GWGGMI(or V)D (SEQ ID NO: 99) or GDIMGEWGNEIFGAIAGFLG (SEQ ID NO: 100). In some instances, HA2 has been fused to the TAT CPP as described briefly above, to produce the dTAT-HA2 peptide. Such sequences include: RRRQRRKKRGGDIMGEWGNEIFGAIAGFLG (SEQ ID NO: 101). dTAT-HA2 can more effectively deliver a bioactive oligo than TAT in instances where endosomal/lysosomal sequestration of the oligo reduces activity significantly.
    (49) Poly-histidine and histidine requiring peptides See the following references. (Leng et al., Drug News Perspect 20: 77, 2007; McKenzie et al., Bioconjug Chem 11: 901, 2000; Reed et al., Nucleic Acids Res 33: e86, 2005; Lee et al., J Control Release 90: 363, 2003; Lo and Wang, Biomaterials 29: 2408, 2008, and WO 2006/053683)—Poly-histidine is hydrophobic at physiological pH but ionized at endosomal pH resulting in destabilization of the endosomal membrane. Polyhistidine can be operably linked to various CPPs to promote endosomolysis following cellular uptake. In some manifestations histidine is conjugated to poly(2-hydroxyethyl aspartamide) to produce an endosomolytic molecule capable of promoting the release of oligos from endosomes, lysosomes or phagosomes. In another manifestation, approximately 10 histidines (preferred range 3 to 20 His) are conjugated to the C-terminus of TAT. In yet another embodiment, the aforementioned molecule comprises two cysteine residues which are incorporated into the molecule with a preferred distribution being cysteine-5 histidines-TAT-5 histidines-cysteine. Other histidine requiring peptides suitable for this purpose include but are not limited to the following: CHKKKKKKHC (SEQ ID NO: 102), CHHHHHHKKKHHHHHHC (SEQ ID NO: 103) and HHHHHWYG (SEQ ID NO: 104).
    (50) Sendi F1—(WO 2008/022046)—has the following sequence: FFGAVIGTIALGVATA (SEQ ID NO: 105) which can be incorporated into fusion CPPs to increase their endosomolytic activity.
    (51) Respiratory Syncytial Virus F1—(WO 2008/022046)—has the following sequence: FLGFLLGVGSAIASGV (SEQ ID NO: 106) and can be incorporated into fusion CPPs to increase their endosomolytic activity.
    (52) HIV gp41—(WO 2008/022046, WO 2006/053683)—has the following sequence: GVFVLGFLGFLATAGS (SEQ ID NO: 107) can be incorporated into fusion CPPs to increase their endosomolytic activity.
    (53) Ebola GP2—(WO 2008/022046)—has the following sequence: GAAIGLAWIPYFGPAA (SEQ ID NO: 108) and can be incorporated into fusion CPPs to increase their endosomolytic activity.
    (54) pH Triggered Agents See the following references (Ogris et al., J Biol Chem 276: 47550, 2001; Meyer et al., J Gene Med 9: 797, 2007; Chen et al., Bioconjug Chem 17: 1057, 2006; Boeckle et al., J Control Release 112: 240, 2006; Schreier, Pharm Acta Helv 68: 145, 1994; Martin and Rice, AAPS J 9: E18, 2007; Plank et al., Adv Drug Delivery Rev 34: 21, 1998; Wagner, Adv Drug Deliv Rev 38: 279, 1999; Eliyahu et al., Biomaterials 27: 1646, 2006; Eliyahu et al., Gene Therapy 12: 494, 2005; Provoda et al., J Biol Chem 278: 35102, 2003; Choi and Lee, J Controlled Release 131: 70, 2008; Parente et al., Biochem 29: 8720, 1990; Wyman et al., Biochem 36: 3008, 1997; Rittner et al., Mol Therapy 5: 104, 2002; US 2007/0036865, US 2004/0198687, US 2005/0244504, US 2003/0199090, US 2008/0187998, US 2006/0084617, U.S. Pat. No. 7,374,778, WO 2004/090107, WO 96/00792, WO 03/093449, WO 2006/053683, WO 94/01448)—pH Triggering Agents are agents that respond to the acidic pH found in endosomes/lysosomes or phagosomes in a manner that causes them to become endosomolytic. Such agents include certain viral proteins listed elsewhere herein but also include other peptides and small molecules that can be incorporated into a larger carrier molecule in multiple copies to concentrate their effect on endosomes/lysosomes (endosomolytic polymer). Endosomolytic polymers can be conjugated directly to oligos by stable or by means of pH labile bonds or incorporated into nanoparticles carriers. Maleamates suitable for use as pH triggering agents include, but are not limited to, carboxydimethylmaleic anhydride, carboxydimethylmaleic anhydride-thioester and carboxydimethylmaleic anhydride-polyethylene glycol. In a preferred embodiment, a multiplicity of such maleamates (e.g., disubstituted maleic anhydride derivatives) are reversibly linked to polyamine as an endosomolytic polymer. Alternative pH triggering agents include but are not limited to the following:
    (a) poly(beta-amino ester) as well as salts, derivatives, co-polymers and blends thereof;
    (b) oligo sulfonamides including those with sulfamethizole, sulfadimethoxine, sulfadiazine or sulfamerazine moieties. Such oligo sulfonamides can be used without a separate endosomolytic polymer;
    (c) Spermine where said spermine may include a cholesterol and/or fatty acid that may be bonded directly to a secondary amine in the spermine and said spermine may be further linked to a carbohydrate such as dextran or arabinogalactan;
    (d) Peptides based on certain bacterial pore forming proteins such as listeriolysin O where the damage caused to cellular membranes around neutral pH is not unacceptably toxic. Listeriolysin O also can be beneficially combined with low molecular weight PEI to promote delivery of oligos.
    (e) Peptides and conjugates based on melittin (also called mellitin) of GIGAVLKVLTTGLPALISWIKRKRQQ (SEQ ID NO: 109). Certain melittin analogues are better suited to this purpose than native melittin. Melittin-PEI conjugates are particularly preferred and are well suited as pH triggering agents. Exemplary conjugates include those where the N-terminus of melittin is conjugated to PEI. Further, modification of the C-terminally linked melittin peptide by replacement of the two neutral Q residues with E residues can increase the membrane lytic activity of melittin-PEI conjugates at endosomal pH. A preferred peptide structure with CPP and endosomolytic activity is a dimethylmaleic acid-melittin-polylysine conjugate. Melittin has also been developed into a gene delivery peptide capable of condensing and cross-linking DNA. This involves addition of lysine residues to increase the positive charge and terminal cysteine residues to promote polymerization.
    (f) Alternative endosomolytic polymers include but are not limited to polyesters, polyanhydrides, polyethers, polyamides, polyacrylates, polymethacrylates, polycarbamates, polycarbonates, polyureas, poly(beta-amino esters) polythioesters and poly(alkyl)acrylic acids.
    (g) The endosomolytic/pH triggering agents include but are not limited to peptides that contain imidazole groups or peptides having a repeating glutamate, alanine, leucine, alanine structure such as the EALA peptide (SEQ ID NO: 110) (also known as GALA; SEQ ID NO: 111) with a sequence that includes but is not limited to WEAALAEALAEALAEHLAEALAEALEALAA (SEQ ID NO: 112) as well as the following: KALA (SEQ ID NO:113) with a sequence that includes but is not limited to WEAKLAKALAKALAKHLAKALAKALKACEA (SEQ ID NO: 114), EGLA (SEQ ID NO: 115), JTS-1 with a sequence that includes but is not limited to GLFEALLELLESLWELLLEA (SEQ ID NO: 116), gramicidin S, ppTG1 with a sequence that includes but is not limited to GLFKALLKLLKSLWKLLLKA (SEQ ID NO: 117) and ppTG20 with a sequence that includes but is not limited to GLFRALLRLLRSLWRLLLRA (SEQ ID NO: 118).
    (h) Any polymer which is not hydrophobic at physiologic pH but which becomes hydrophobic at pH (5.0-6.5) can be useful to promote endosomolysis and increase delivery of the oligo described herein. Further examples include: (a) Polymers that contain multiple carboxylic acid groups; and (b) Random, block and graft copolymers that include acrylate groups and alkyl substituted acrylate groups where preferably the alkyl group is a 1-6 carbon straight, branched or cyclic alkane. Preferred monomers for use in polymeric materials include poly(ethylacrylic acid), poly(propylacrylic acid) and poly(butylacrylic acid). Copolymers of these monomers by themselves or including acrylic acid can be used. Alternatively, or in addition, the carrier composition can include ligands such as poly-lysine or chitosan that can be associated with the oligo.
  • The ability of the molecules described above to move oligos across cell membranes may be further enhanced by combining them with certain lipophilic domains and then combining the product with an oligo as described, for example, in Koppelhus et al., Bioconjugate Chem 19: 1526, 2008 and WO 2008/043366. Such lipophilic domains that may be conjugated to the CPP or to the oligo include but are not limited to the following: (1) an alkyl, alkenyl or alkynyl chain comprising 5-20 carbon atoms with a linear arrangement or including at least one cycloalkyl or heterocycle; or (2) a fatty acid containing 4 to 20 carbon atoms.
  • In certain embodiments of the invention, CPP, linkers, nanoparticles, nanoparticles based on dendrimers, nanolattices, nanovesicles, nanoribbons, liposomes or micelles used to associate such peptides to oligos may be employed in the therapeutically beneficial compositions described herein. Such liposome applications include the use of heat delivery systems to promote targeting of heat labile liposomes carrying oligos to particular tissues. Such compositions are described in Najlah and D'Emanuele, Curr Opin Pharmacol 6: 522, 2006; Munoz-Morns et al., Biochem Biophys Res Commun 355: 877, 2007; Lim et al., Angew Chem Int Ed 46: 3475, 2007; Zhu et al., Biotechnol Appl Biochem 39: 179, 2004; Huang et al., Bioconjug Chem 18: 403, 2007; Kolhatkar et al., Bioconjug Chem 18: 2054, 2007; Najlah et al., Bioconjug Chem 18: 937, 2007; Desgates et al., Adv Drug Delivery Rev 60: 537, 2008; Meade et al., Adv Drug Delivery Rev 59: 134, 2007; Albarran et al., Protein Engineering, Design & Selection 18: 147, 2005; Hashida et al., Br J Cancer 90: 1252, 2004; Ho et al., Cancer Res 61: 474, 2001; U.S. Pat. No. 7,329,638, US 2005/0042753, US 2006/0159619, US 2007/0077230, WO 2008/106503, WO 2008/073856, WO 2008/070141, WO 2008/045486, WO 2008/042686, WO 2008/003329, WO 2008/026224, WO 2008/037463, WO 2008/039188, WO2007/056153, WO2008/022046, WO 2007/131286, WO 2007/048019, WO 2004/048545, WO 2008/033253, WO 2005/035550, WO 0610247, and WO 2007/133182.
  • In certain embodiments, CPP are not employed to enhance uptake of the oligo of the invention. Compositions suitable for this embodiment are provided in the following references: Najlah and D'Emanuele, Curr Opin Pharmacol 6: 522, 2006; Huang et al., Bioconjug Chem 18: 403, 2007; Kolhatkar et al., Bioconjug Chem 18: 2054, 2007; Najlah et al., Bioconjug Chem 18: 937, 2007; US 2005/0175682, US 2007/0042031, U.S. Pat. No. 6,410,328, US 2005/0064595, US 2006/0083780, US 2006/0240093, US 2006/0051405, US 2007/0042031, US 2006/0240554, US 2008/0020058, US 2008/0188675, US 2006/0159619, WO 2008/096321, WO 2008/091465, WO 2008/073856, WO 2008/070141, WO 2008/045486, WO 2008/042686, WO 2008/003329, WO 2008/026224, WO 2008/037463, WO 2007/131286, WO 2007/048019, WO 2004/048545 WO 2007/0135372, WO 2008/033253, WO 2007/086881, WO 2007/086883, and WO 2007/133182.
  • In certain embodiments, it is preferable to deliver oligos topically (e.g., to skin (e.g., for the treatment of psoriasis), mucus membranes, rectum, lungs and bladder). The following references describe compositions and methods that facilitate topical oligo delivery. See US 2005/0096287, US 2005/0238606, US 2008/0114281, U.S. Pat. No. 7,374,778, US 2007/0105775, WO 99/60167, WO 2005/069736, and WO 2004/076674. Exemplary methods and compositions include: (1) instruments that deliver a charge by means of electrodes to the skin with the result that the stratum corneum an area beneath the electrodes is ablated thereby generating at least one micro-channel, the oligos being administered optionally being associated with any of the oligo carriers described herein; (2) the use of ultrasound to both cross the skin and to assist in getting carrier/oligo complexes into cells; and (3) use of a carrier including but not limited to emulsions, colloids, surfactants, microscopic vesicles, a fatty acid, liposomes and transfersomes. The methods and compositions just provided in (2) and (3) and where the oligo has phosphodiester and/or phosphorothioate linkages may be further abetted by the use of reversible Charge Neutralization Groups of the type described in WO 2008/008476.
  • Polyampholyte complexes can be used to promote oligo uptake following topical application or following intravascular, intramuscular, intraperitoneal administration or by direct injections into particular tissues. In a preferred embodiment the polyampholyte complexes contain pH-labile bonds such as those described in US 2004/0162235, and WO 2004/076674.
  • Additional agents, CPPs and endosomolytic agents may be directly linked to oligos or to carriers non-covalently associated with oligos to improve the intracellular bioavailability of the oligo. Such agents include but are not limited to the compositions, methods and uses described in the following: Kubo et al., Org Biomol Chem 3: 3257, 2005; U.S. Pat. No. 5,574,142, U.S. Pat. No. 6,172,208, U.S. Pat. No. 6,900,297, US 2008/0152661, US 2003/0148928, WO 01/15737, WO 2008/022309, WO 2006/031461, WO 02/094185, WO 03/069306, WO 93/07883, WO 94/13325, WO 92/22332, WO 94/01448.
  • In order to cross intact mammalian skin, lipid vesicles must pass through a series of fine pores, each with a diameter less than 50 nm, under the influence of a suitable transdermal gradient. Therefore, it is desirable to use a liposome that is highly deformable and able to pass through such fine pores.
  • Liposomes obtained from natural phospholipids are biocompatible and biodegradable; liposomes can incorporate a wide range of water and lipid soluble drugs; liposomes can protect encapsulated drugs in their internal compartments from metabolism and degradation (Rosoff, in Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms, Lieberman, Rieger and Banker (Eds.), 1988, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, N.Y., volume 1, p. 245). Important considerations in the preparation of liposome formulations are the lipid surface charge, vesicle size and the aqueous volume of the liposomes.
  • Liposomes are useful for the transfer and delivery of active ingredients to the site of action. Because the liposomal membrane is structurally similar to biological membranes, when liposomes are applied to a tissue, the liposomes start to merge with the cellular membranes. As the merging of the liposome and cell progresses, the liposomal contents are emptied into the cell where the active agent may act.
  • Liposomal formulations have been the focus of extensive investigation as the mode of delivery for many drugs. There is growing evidence that for topical administration, liposomes present several advantages over some other formulations. Such advantages include reduced side-effects related to high systemic absorption of the administered drug, increased accumulation of the administered drug at the desired target, and the ability to administer a wide variety of drugs, both hydrophilic and hydrophobic, into the skin.
  • Several reports have detailed the ability of liposomes to deliver agents including high-molecular weight DNA into the skin. Compounds including analgesics, antibodies, hormones and high-molecular weight DNAs have been administered to the skin. The majority of applications resulted in the targeting of the upper epidermis.
  • Liposomes fall into two broad classes. Cationic liposomes are positively charged liposomes that interact with the negatively charged DNA molecules to form a stable complex. The positively charged DNA/liposome complex binds to the negatively charged cell surface and is internalized into an endosome. Due to the acidic pH within the endosome, the liposomes are ruptured, releasing their contents into the cell cytoplasm (Wang et al., Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 1987, 147, 980-985).
  • Liposomes which are pH-sensitive or negatively-charged, entrap DNA rather than complex with it. Since both the DNA and the lipid are similarly charged, repulsion rather than complex formation occurs. Nevertheless, some DNA is entrapped within the aqueous interior of these liposomes. pH-sensitive liposomes have been used to deliver DNA encoding the thymidine kinase gene to cell monolayers in culture. Expression of the exogenous gene was detected in the target cells (Zhou et al., J Controlled Release, 1992, 19, 269-274).
  • One major type of liposomal composition includes phospholipids other than naturally-derived phosphatidylcholine. Neutral liposome compositions, for example, can be formed from dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine (DMPC) or dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC). Anionic liposome compositions generally are formed from dimyristoyl phosphatidylglycerol, while anionic fusogenic liposomes are formed primarily from dioleoyl phosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE). Another type of liposomal composition is formed from phosphatidylcholine (PC) such as, for example, soybean PC, and egg PC. Another type is formed from mixtures of phospholipid and/or phosphatidylcholine and/or cholesterol.
  • Several studies have assessed the topical delivery of liposomal drug formulations to the skin. Application of liposomes containing interferon to guinea pig skin resulted in a reduction of skin herpes sores while delivery of interferon via other means (e.g., as a solution or as an emulsion) were ineffective (Weiner et al., Journal of Drug Targeting, 1992, 2, 405-410). Further, an additional study tested the efficacy of interferon administered as part of a liposomal formulation to the administration of interferon using an aqueous system, and concluded that the liposomal formulation was superior to aqueous administration (du Plessis et al., Antiviral Research, 1992, 18, 259-265).
  • Non-ionic liposomal systems have also been examined to determine their utility in the delivery of drugs to the skin, in particular systems comprising non-ionic surfactant and cholesterol. Non-ionic liposomal formulations comprising Novasome® I (glyceryl dilaurate/cholesterol/polyoxyethylene-10-stearyl ether) and Novasome® II (glyceryl distearate/cholesterol/polyoxyethylene-10-stearyl ether) were used to deliver cyclosporin-A into the dermis of mouse skin. Results indicated that such non-ionic liposomal systems were effective in facilitating the deposition of cyclosporin-A into different layers of the skin (Hu et al. S.T.P. Pharma. Scid., 1994, 4, 6, 466).
  • Liposomes also include “sterically stabilized” liposomes, a term which, as used herein, refers to liposomes comprising one or more specialized lipids that, when incorporated into liposomes, result in enhanced circulation lifetimes relative to liposomes lacking such specialized lipids. Examples of sterically stabilized liposomes are those in which part of the vesicle-forming lipid portion of the liposome (A) comprises one or more glycolipids, such as monosialoganglioside GM1, or (B) is derivatized with one or more hydrophilic polymers, such as a polyethylene glycol (PEG) moiety. While not wishing to be bound by any particular theory, it is thought in the art that, at least for sterically stabilized liposomes containing gangliosides, sphingomyelin, or PEG-derivatized lipids, the enhanced circulation half-life of these sterically stabilized liposomes derives from a reduced uptake into cells of the reticuloendothelial system (RES) (Allen et al., FEBS Letters, 1987, 223, 42; Wu et al., Cancer Research, 1993, 53, 3765). Various liposomes comprising one or more glycolipids are known in the art. Papahadjopoulos et al. (Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1987, 507, 64) reported the ability of monosialoganglioside GM1, galactocerebroside sulfate and phosphatidylinositol to improve blood half-lives of liposomes. These findings were expounded upon by Gabizon et al. (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 1988, 85, 6949). U.S. Pat. No. 4,837,028 and WO 88/04924, both to Allen et al., who disclose liposomes comprising (1) sphingomyelin and (2) the ganglioside GM1 or a galactocerebroside sulfate ester. U.S. Pat. No. 5,543,152 (Webb et al.) discloses liposomes comprising sphingomyelin. Liposomes comprising 1,2-sn-dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine are disclosed in WO 97/13499 (Lim et al.).
  • Many liposomes comprising lipids derivatized with one or more hydrophilic polymers, and methods of preparation thereof, are known in the art. Sunamoto et al. (Bull. Chem. Soc. Jpn., 1980, 53, 2778) described liposomes comprising a nonionic detergent, 2C1215G, that contains a PEG moiety. Ilium et al. (FEBS Lett., 1984, 167, 79) noted that hydrophilic coating of polystyrene particles with polymeric glycols results in significantly enhanced blood half-lives. Synthetic phospholipids modified by the attachment of carboxylic groups of polyalkylene glycols (e.g., PEG) are described by Sears (U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,426,330 and 4,534,899). Klibanov et al. (FEBS Lett., 1990, 268, 235) described experiments demonstrating that liposomes comprising phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) derivatized with PEG or PEG stearate have significant increases in blood circulation half-lives. Blume et al. (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1990, 1029, 91) extended such observations to other PEG-derivatized phospholipids, e.g., DSPE-PEG, formed from the combination of distearoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DSPE) and PEG. Liposomes having covalently bound PEG moieties on their external surface are described in European Patent No. EP 0 445 131 B1 and WO 90/04384. Liposome compositions containing 1-20 mole percent of PE derivatized with PEG, and methods of use thereof, are described by Woodle et al. (U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,013,556 and 5,356,633) and Martin et al. (U.S. Pat. No. 5,213,804 and European Patent No. EP 0 496 813 B1). Liposomes comprising a number of other lipid-polymer conjugates are disclosed in WO 91/05545 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,225,212 (both to Martin et al.) and in WO 94/20073 (Zalipsky et al.) Liposomes comprising PEG-modified ceramide lipids are described in WO 96/10391 (Choi et al.). U.S. Pat. No. 5,540,935 (Miyazaki et al.) and U.S. Pat. No. 5,556,948 (Tagawa et al.) describe PEG-containing liposomes that can be further derivatized with functional moieties on their surfaces.
  • A limited number of liposomes comprising nucleic acids are known in the art. WO 96/40062 to Thierry et al. discloses methods for encapsulating high molecular weight nucleic acids in liposomes. U.S. Pat. No. 5,264,221 to Tagawa et al. discloses protein-bonded liposomes and asserts that the contents of such liposomes may include an antisense RNA. U.S. Pat. No. 5,665,710 to Rahman et al. describes certain methods of encapsulating oligos in liposomes. WO 97/04787 to Love et al. discloses liposomes comprising antisense oligos targeted to the raf gene.
  • Transfersomes are yet another type of liposomes, and are highly deformable lipid aggregates which are attractive candidates for drug delivery vehicles. Transfersomes may be described as lipid droplets that are so highly deformable that they are easily able to penetrate through pores which are smaller than the droplet. Transfersomes are adaptable to the environment in which they are used, e.g., they are self-optimizing (adaptive to the shape of pores in the skin), self-repairing, frequently reach their targets without fragmenting, and often self-loading. To make transfersomes, it is possible to add surface edge-activators, usually surfactants, to a standard liposomal composition. Transfersomes have been used to deliver serum albumin to the skin. The transfersome-mediated delivery of serum albumin has been shown to be as effective as subcutaneous injection of a solution containing serum albumin.
  • Surfactants find wide application in formulations such as emulsions (including microemulsions) and liposomes. The most common way of classifying and ranking the properties of the many different types of surfactants, both natural and synthetic, is by the use of the hydrophile/lipophile balance (HLB). The nature of the hydrophilic group (also known as the “head”) provides the most useful means for categorizing the different surfactants used in formulations (Rieger, in Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, N.Y., 1988, p. 285).
  • If the surfactant molecule is not ionized, it is classified as a nonionic surfactant. Nonionic surfactants find wide application in pharmaceutical products and are usable over a wide range of pH values. In general their HLB values range from 2 to about 18 depending on their structure. Nonionic surfactants include nonionic esters such as ethylene glycol esters, propylene glycol esters, glyceryl esters, polyglyceryl esters, sorbitan esters, sucrose esters, and ethoxylated esters. Nonionic alkanolamides and ethers such as fatty alcohol ethoxylates, propoxylated alcohols, and ethoxylated/propoxylated block polymers are also included in this class. The polyoxyethylene surfactants are the most popular members of the nonionic surfactant class.
  • If the surfactant molecule carries a negative charge when it is dissolved or dispersed in water, the surfactant is classified as anionic. Anionic surfactants include carboxylates such as soaps, acyl lactylates, acyl amides of amino acids, esters of sulfuric acid such as alkyl sulfates and ethoxylated alkyl sulfates, sulfonates such as alkyl benzene sulfonates, acyl isethionates, acyl taurates and sulfosuccinates, and phosphates. The most important members of the anionic surfactant class are the alkyl sulfates and the soaps.
  • If the surfactant molecule carries a positive charge when it is dissolved or dispersed in water, the surfactant is classified as cationic. Cationic surfactants include quaternary ammonium salts and ethoxylated amines. The quaternary ammonium salts are the most used members of this class.
  • E. Methods of Administration of the Oligo Based Compounds of the Invention Clinical Applications
  • RNAi has the potential to form the basis of a broadly applicable drug platform for the treatment of a very wide range of diseases. The principal barrier to the wide use of this technology is the lack of the means for achieving cellular uptake of sufficient amounts of compound for adequate biologic activity in vivo by a wide range of cells. The present invention provides a basic approach that can be widely applied to overcome this basic problem. By separately administering complementary sense and antisense oligos capable of double stranded RNAi and allowing them to assemble into a functional double stranded RNAi intracellularly, uptake can be achieved in may cell types in vivo without the necessity of a carrier. This approach requires that the individual strands have sufficient resistance to nuclease attack while retaining the capacity to function as siRNA following hybridization to their partner in cells. These requirements can be achieved in a number of ways and several of these have been disclosed here in. In the case of ss-siRNA with high activity, administration of a second strand will not be necessary. However, second strand administration will boost the activity of a guide strand that is active by itself. These methods can also be applied in vitro but here carriers will be needed for most cell lines in order to get the individual strands into cellular compartments where they can exhibit their biologic activity.
  • The present invention further provides pharmaceutical kits. Exemplary kits of the invention comprise a first pharmaceutical composition comprising an effective amount of at least one passenger strand and a second pharmaceutical composition comprising at least one guide strand together in a package. Such kits may also comprise conventional agents which are effective to treat the medical condition targeted by RNAi based therapy. For example, when cancer is the underlying medical condition, additional agents known to have efficacy for the treatment of the disease may be included in the kit. For example, in a subtherapeutic dose for the individual agent, the agents being effective in combination with the RNAi and providing reduced side effects while maintaining efficacy. Alternatively, each agent can be provided at a higher dose, such as those found for the agent in the Physician's Desk Reference.
  • The pharmacology of conventional antisense oligos with a variety of backbone chemistries with and without the use of carriers has been extensively studied in multiple species, including humans. These oligos include those with various backbone modifications including those with 2′-0 modifications to the sugar (e.g., 2′-0-methyl) where most often the modification is intermittent and with various linkages such as phosphorothioate. The pharmacokinetics of these oligos are similar and they behave in a similar manner to many other drugs that are used systemically. As a result, the basic pharmacologic principals that have been established over the years apply to the oligos of the invention as well.
  • The ss-siRNA or separate complementary sense and antisense oligos intended to form intracellular RNAi which are designed and administered in accordance with the present invention are, from a pharmacokinetic point of view, the same as conventional antisense oligos. As a result the same pharmacokinetic principles and analysis methods apply.
  • By way of reference the standard general textbooks include the following: “Principles of Drug Action: the Basis of Pharmacology”, WB Pratt and P Taylor, (editors), 3rd edition, 1990, Churchill Livingston, 1990; Principles of Pharmacology: The Pathophysiologic Basis of Drug Therapy, D E Golan, A H Tashjian, E J Armstrong and A W Armstrong (editors) 2nd edition, 2007, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • References that summarize much of pharmacology for a range of different types of oligo therapeutics includes the following: Encyclopedia of Pharmaceutical Technology,—6 Volume Set, J Swarbrick (Editor) 3rd edition, 2006, Informa HealthCare; Pharmaceutical Perspectives of Nucleic Acid-Based Therapy, R I Mahato and SW Kim (Editora) 1 edition, 2002, CRC press; Antisense Drug Technology: Principles, Strategies, and Applications, ST Crooke (Editor) 2nd edition, 2007, Pharmaceutical Aspects of Oligonucleotides, P Couvreur and C Malvy (Editors) 1st edition, 1999, CRC press; Therapeutic Oligonucleotides (RSC Biomolecular Sciences) (RSC Biomolecular Sciences) (Hardcover) by Jens Kurreck (Editor) Royal Society of Chemistry; 1 edition, 2008, CRC press; Clinical Trials of Genetic Therapy with Antisense DNA and DNA Vectors, E Wickstrom (Editor) 1st edition, 1998, CRC press.
  • For the purposes of this invention, oligos can be administered intravenously (i.v.), intraperitoneally (i.p.), subcutaneously (s.c.), topically, or intramuscularly (i.m.) intrathecally, orally or used in combination with agents that interrupt or permeate the blood-brain barrier in order to treat conditions involving the central nervous system.
  • In certain embodiments, (e.g., for the treatment of lung disorders, such as pulmonary fibrosis or asthma or to allow for self administration) it may desirable to deliver the oligos described herein in aerosolized form. A pharmaceutical composition comprising at least one oligo can be administered as an aerosol formulation which contains the oligos in dissolved, suspended or emulsified form in a propellant or a mixture of solvent and propellant. The aerosolized formulation is then administered through the respiratory system or nasal passages.
  • An aerosol formulation used for nasal administration is generally an aqueous solution designed to be administered to the nasal passages as drops or sprays. Nasal solutions are generally prepared to be similar to nasal secretions and are generally isotonic and slightly buffered to maintain a pH of about 5.5 to about 6.5, although pH values outside of this range can also be used. Antimicrobial agents or preservatives can also be included in the formulation.
  • An aerosol formulation for use in inhalations and inhalants is designed so that the oligos are carried into the respiratory tree of the patient. See (WO 01/82868; WO 01/82873; WO 01/82980; WO 02/05730; WO 02/05785. Inhalation solutions can be administered, for example, by a nebulizer. Inhalations or insufflations, comprising finely powdered or liquid drugs, are delivered to the respiratory system as a pharmaceutical aerosol of a solution or suspension of the drug in a propellant.
  • An aerosol formulation generally contains a propellant to aid in disbursement of the oligos. Propellants can be liquefied gases, including halocarbons, for example, fluorocarbons such as fluorinated chlorinated hydrocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and hydrochlorocarbons as well as hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon ethers (Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences 18th ed., Gennaro, A. R., ed., Mack Publishing Company, Easton, Pa. (1990)).
  • Halocarbon propellants useful in the invention include fluorocarbon propellants in which all hydrogens are replaced with fluorine, hydrogen-containing fluorocarbon propellants, and hydrogen-containing chlorofluorocarbon propellants. Halocarbon propellants are described in Johnson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,376,359, and Purewal et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,776,434.
  • Hydrocarbon propellants useful in the invention include, for example, propane, isobutane, n-butane, pentane, isopentane and neopentane. A blend of hydrocarbons can also be used as a propellant. Ether propellants include, for example, dimethyl ether as well as numerous other ethers.
  • The oligos can also be dispensed with a compressed gas. The compressed gas is generally an inert gas such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide or nitrogen.
  • An aerosol formulation of the invention can also contain more than one propellant. For example, the aerosol formulation can contain more than one propellant from the same class such as two or more fluorocarbons. An aerosol formulation can also contain more than one propellant from different classes. An aerosol formulation can contain any combination of two or more propellants from different classes, for example, a fluorohydrocarbon and a hydrocarbon.
  • Effective aerosol formulations can also include other components, for example, ethanol, isopropanol, propylene glycol, as well as surfactants or other components such as oils and detergents (Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences, 1990; Purewal et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,776,434). These aerosol components can serve to stabilize the formulation and lubricate valve components.
  • The aerosol formulation can be packaged under pressure and can be formulated as an aerosol using solutions, suspensions, emulsions, powders and semisolid preparations. A solution aerosol consists of a solution of an active ingredient such as oligos in pure propellant or as a mixture of propellant and solvent. The solvent is used to dissolve the active ingredient and/or retard the evaporation of the propellant. Solvents useful in the invention include, for example, water, ethanol and glycols. A solution aerosol contains the active ingredient peptide and a propellant and can include any combination of solvents and preservatives or antioxidants.
  • An aerosol formulation can also be a dispersion or suspension. A suspension aerosol formulation will generally contain a suspension of an effective amount of the oligos and a dispersing agent. Dispersing agents useful in the invention include, for example, sorbitan trioleate, oleyl alcohol, oleic acid, lecithin and corn oil. A suspension aerosol formulation can also include lubricants and other aerosol components.
  • An aerosol formulation can similarly be formulated as an emulsion. An emulsion can include, for example, an alcohol such as ethanol, a surfactant, water and propellant, as well as the active ingredient, the oligos. The surfactant can be nonionic, anionic or cationic. One example of an emulsion can include, for example, ethanol, surfactant, water and propellant. Another example of an emulsion can include, for example, vegetable oil, glyceryl monostearate and propane.
  • Oligos may be formulated for oral delivery (Tillman et al., J Pharm Sci 97: 225, 2008; Raoof et al., J Pharm Sci 93: 1431, 2004; Raoof et al., Eur J Pharm Sci 17: 131, 2002; U.S. Pat. No. 6,747,014; US 2003/0040497; US 2003/0083286; US 2003/0124196; US 2003/0176379; US 2004/0229831; US 2005/0196443; US 2007/0004668; US 2007/0249551; WO 02/092616; WO 03/017940; WO 03/018134; WO 99/60012). Such formulations may incorporate one or more permeability enhancers such as sodium caprate that may be incorporated into an enteric-coated dosage form with the oligo.
  • There are also delivery mechanisms applicable to oligos with or without carriers that can be applied to particular parts of the body such as the CNS. These include the use of convection-enhanced delivery methods such as but not limited to intracerebral clysis (convection-enhanced microinfusion into the brain—Jeffrey et al., Neurosurgery 46: 683, 2000) to help deliver the cell-permeable carrier/NABT complex to the target cells in the CNS as described in WO 2008/033285.
  • Drug delivery mechanisms based on the exploitation of so-called leverage-mediated uptake mechanisms are also suitable for the practice of this invention (Schmidt and Theopold, Bioessays 26: 1344, 2004). These mechanisms involve targeting by means of soluble adhesion molecules (SAMs) such as tetrameric lectins, cross-linked membrane-anchored molecules (MARMs) around lipoproteins or bulky hinge molecules leveraging MARMs to cause a local inversion of the cell membrane curvature and formation of an internal endosome, lysosome or phagosome. More specifically leverage-mediated uptake involves lateral clustering of MARMs by SAMs thus generating the configurational energy that can drive the reaction towards internalization of the oligo carrying complex by the cell. These compositions, methods, uses and means of production are provided in WO 2005/074966.
  • As for many drugs, dose schedules for treating patients with oligos can be readily extrapolated from animal studies. The extracellular concentrations that must be generally achieved with highly active conventional antisense or complementary sense and antisense oligos for use in the two-step method is in the 1-200 nanomolar (nM) range. Higher extracellular levels, up to 1.5 micromolar, may be more appropriate for some applications as this can result in an increase in the speed and the amount of the oligos driven into the tissues. Such levels can readily be achieved in the plasma.
  • For in vivo applications, the concentration of the oligos to be used is readily calculated based on the volume of physiologic balanced-salt solution or other medium in which the tissue to be treated is being bathed. With fresh tissue, 1-1000 nM represents the concentration extremes needed for oligos with moderate to excellent activity. Two hundred nanomolar (200 nM) is a generally serviceable level for most applications. With most cell lines a carrier will typically be needed for in vitro administration. Incubation of the tissue with the oligos at 5% rather than atmospheric (ambient) oxygen levels may improve the results significantly.
  • Pharmacologic/toxicologic studies of phosphorothioate oligos, for example, have shown that they are adequately stable under in vivo conditions, and that they are readily taken up by all the tissues in the body following systemic administration with a few exceptions such as the central nervous system (Iversen, Anticancer Drug Design 6:531, 1991; Iversen, Antisense Res. Develop. 4:43, 1994; Crooke, Ann. Rev. Pharm. Toxicol. 32: 329, 1992; Cornish et al., Pharmacol. Comm. 3: 239, 1993; Agrawal et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88: 7595, 1991; Cossum et al., J. Pharm. Exp. Therapeutics 269: 89, 1994). These compounds readily gain access to the tissue in the central nervous system in large amounts following injection into the cerebral spinal fluid (Osen-Sand et al., Nature 364: 445, 1993; Suzuki et al., Amer J. Physiol. 266: R1418, 1994; Draguno et al., Neuroreport 5: 305, 1993; Sommer et al., Neuroreport 5: 277, 1993; Heilig et al., Eur. J. Pharm. 236: 339, 1993; Chiasson et al., Eur J. Pharm. 227: 451, 1992). Phosphorothioates per se have been found to be relatively non-toxic, and the class specific adverse effects that are seen occur at higher doses and at faster infusion rates than is needed to obtain a therapeutic effect with a well chosen sequence. In addition to providing for nuclease resistance, one potential advantage of phosphorothioate and boranophosphate linkages over the phosphodiester linkage is the promotion of binding to plasma proteins and albumin in particular with the resulting effect of an increased plasma half-life. By retaining the oligo for a longer period of time in plasma the oligo has more time to enter tissues as opposed to being excreted by the kidney. Oligos with primarily or exclusively phosphodiester linkages have a plasma half-life of only a few minutes. Thus, they are of little use for in vivo applications when used without a carrier. In the case of oligos with a preponderance or exclusively phosphodiester linkages, plasma protein binding can be improved by covalently attaching the oligo a molecule that binds a plasma protein such as serum albumin. Such molecules include, but are not limited to, an arylpropionic acid, for example, ibuprofen, suprofen, ketoprofen, pranoprofen, tiaprofenic acid, naproxen, flurpibrofen and carprofen (U.S. Pat. No. 6,656,730). As for other moieties that might be linked to the oligos suitable for use with the present invention the preferred site is the 3′-end of the oligo. Intravenous administrations of oligos can be continuous for days or be administered over a period of minutes depending on the particular oligos and the medical indication. Phosphorothioate-containing oligos have been tested containing 18 nucleotides (e.g., oblimersen) to 20 nucleotides (e.g., cenersen, alicaforsen, aprinocarsen, ISIS 14803, ISIS 5132 and ISIS 2503) in length. When so administered such oligos show an alpha and a beta phase of elimination from the plasma. The alpha phase oligo half-life is 30 to 60 minutes while the beta phase is longer than two weeks for oligos with both phosphorothioate linkages and 2′-0 substitutions in at least the terminal four nucleosides on each end of the oligo.
  • The most prominent toxicities associated with intravenous administration of phosphorothioates have been related to the chemical class and generally independent of the mRNA target sequence and, therefore, independent of hybridization. The observed and measured toxicities have been consistent from drug to drug pre-clinically and clinically, with non-human primates being most similar to humans for certain key toxicities.
  • The class-related toxicities that have been most compelling in choosing dose and schedule for pre-clinical and clinical evaluation occur as a function of binding to specific plasma proteins and include transient inhibition of the clotting cascade and activation of the complement cascade. Both of these toxicities are thought to be related to the polyanionic nature of the molecules.
  • The effect of phosphorothioates on the clotting cascade results in plasma concentration-related prolongation of the activated partial thromboplastin (aPPT) time. Maximum prolongation of the aPTT correlates closely with the maximum plasma concentration so doses and schedules that avoid high peak concentrations can be selected to avoid significant effects on the aPTT. Because the plasma half-life of these drugs is short (30 to 60 minutes), the effect on clotting is transient. Several of these drugs have been evaluated in the clinic with prolonged intravenous infusions lasting up to 3 weeks. Shorter IV infusions (e.g., 2 hours) have also been studied. For example, aprinocarsen (ISIS 3521) and ISIS 5132 were studied with both 2 hour and 3-week continuous infusion schedules. At a dose of 3 mg/kg/dose over 2 hours, transient prolongation of the aPTT was observed. When 3 mg/kg was given daily by continuous infusion for 21 days, there was no effect on aPTT. The effect of antisense molecules of this chemical class on the clotting cascade is consistent.
  • Similarly, the activation of complement is a consistent observation; however, the relationship between plasma concentration of oligonucleotides and complement activation is more complex than the effect on clotting. Also, while the effect on clotting is found in rats as well as monkeys, the effect on the complement cascade has only been observed in monkeys and humans.
  • When these drugs are given to cynomolgus monkeys by 2-hour infusion, increases in complement split products (i.e., C3a, C5a, and Bb) occur only when plasma concentrations exceed a threshold value of 40-50 μg/mL. In monkeys, there is a low incidence of cardiovascular collapse associated with increases in these proteins. For the most part, clinical investigations of phosphorothioates have been designed to avoid these high plasma concentrations.
  • Cenersen has been evaluated in Rhesus monkeys using a 7-day continuous infusion schedule with a maximum dose of 27 mg/kg/day. In this study, minor Bb increases were noted in the highest dose group of 27 mg/kg/day with mean steady state plasma concentrations of cenersen measured in the 14-19 μg/mL range. Continuous intravenous schedules have not been evaluated in non-human primates with other oligonucleotides.
  • However, continuous infusions have been studied in clinical trials. Cenersen has been evaluated in a Phase I study at doses up to 0.25 mg/kg,/hour for up to 10 days in patients with AML/MDS. ISIS 3521 was evaluated at doses up to 0.125 mg/kg/hour for 3 weeks and ISIS 5132 was evaluated at doses up to 0.21 mg/kg/hour for 3 weeks. In cancer patients treated with intermittent short infusions of ISIS 3521 and ISIS 5132 (2 hour infusions, given three times per week.) complement activation was not observed with doses up to 6 mg/kg (3 mg/kg/hour×2 hours) where mean peak plasma concentrations up to 30 μg/mL were recorded.
  • When ISIS 3521 was given as a weekly 24 hour infusion at doses as high as 24 mg/kg (1 mg/kg/hour×24 hours), the steady state plasma concentrations reached approximately 12 μg/mL at the high dose. On this schedule, however, there were substantial increases in C3a and Bb even though these plasma levels were much lower than those seen with the shorter infusions. Thus, activation of complement may be associated with both dose and schedule where plasma concentrations that are well tolerated over shorter periods of time (e.g. 2 hours), are associated with toxicity when the plasma concentrations are maintained for longer. This likely provides the explanation for the findings with cenersen in rhesus monkeys where complement activation was observed at concentrations of 14-19 μg/mL.
  • When ISIS 3521 was given at 1.0 and 1.25 mg/kg/hour×2 hours, the mean peak plasma concentrations were 11.1±0.98 and 6.82±1.33 ug/mL, respectively. There was no complement activation at these or other higher doses and no other safety issues. It is expected that the maximum peak plasma concentrations for similarly sized phosphorothioate given at 1.2 mg/kg/hour×1 hour would be similar to that observed with ISIS 3521.
  • Thus, limiting infusion rates for phosphorothioates to 3.6 mg/kg/h or less is highly preferred. With somewhat higher infusion rates the effects of complement activation can be expected. Decisions made about the sequential shortening of the infusion below one hour using a constant total dose of approximately 22 mg/kg should be readily achieved based on review of the safety information, including evaluation of complement split products.
  • These considerations set a range of dose and scheduling parameters particularly for in vivo use of the oligos of the present invention in situations where a carrier is not used.
  • Methods for Administering the Oligos of the Invention for the Treatment of Disease
  • For most systemic in vivo purposes a daily intravenous administration over one hour for a given oligo or pair of passenger oligos (See Prototypes 5, 6 and 7 designs 1b, 2b and 3b respectively) at an infusion rate of up to 3.6 mg/kg/h are appropriate. The timing of the administration of the second oligo in accordance with the two-step method is primarily dictated by the plasma half-life of the first oligo, the speed at which an RNAi effect is needed for a given medical or other commercial purpose and the frequency of the courses of treatment.
  • In general for in vivo uses, the preferred delay between a single two-step administrations is between 4 and 24 hours for the passenger (may be a pair) and guide strand oligos where it is preferred that the passenger strand(s) is administered first. When multiple courses are to be given the delay between the administration of the second oligo of the first course and the first oligo of the second course is preferably at least 4 hours. Particularly for non-dividing cells the delay between the first and second oligo administrations for a single course can be quite long and up to a few weeks. This time frame is a function of the tissue residence time for the first oligo.
  • In general for in vitro uses, the second strand can be administered within minutes of the first strand or after a longer period that is primarily dependent on the growth rate of the target cells and the intracellular levels of the first strand. In most instances the second strand will be given within three days. For non-proliferating cells the period of time that the first strand remains at functional levels can be readily determined empirically, however, in most instances the second strand will be administered in less than 7 days from the administration of the first.
  • The methods provided herein can be applied to essentially any conventional antisense oligo and to any active RNAi compound based on ss-siRNA or on a double stranded siRNA where the strands hybridize by complementary base pairing. Such RNAi compounds can target any gene in eukaryotic cells. Many such genes are useful targets for a wide variety of medical conditions some of which are presented in Table 2.
  • The nucleic acid sequence information for the genes listed herein and in Table 2 are either provided or are available from sources such as GenBank. Using the design parameters set forth herein oligos effective to down modulate target gene expression can be generated. Diseased cells expressing such genes can then be contacted with an oligo in an amount which is effective to down modulate expression of the desired gene target. Such oligos can be applied alone or with other oligos or in combination with other agents typically used for treating the disease in question. Methods for treating cells in vitro are well within the skill of the artisan in this art area. Methods for in vivo delivery to targeted tissues are provided herein.
  • When the two-step method is employed, cells are contacted with a single stranded oligo under conditions which facilitate uptake of the oligo into the cells. The cells are contacted with the complementary single stranded such that a duplexed structure forms intracellularly, the duplex being effective to catalyze destruction of or inhibition of mRNA functions.
  • TABLE 2
    Gene Targets and Particular Medical Conditions or Other Commercial Purposes
    Which Can Be Modulated Using the Disclosed Oligo Based Compounds
    Medical Conditions to be Treated or Other Commercial
    Objectives to be Achieved using the Oligo Based Compounds of
    Gene Targets the Invention and Directed to the Indicated Gene Target to
    (alternative names) Inhibit (unless otherwise stated) the Following
    5-alpha reductase Benign prostatic hyperplasia; Evolution of benign prostatic
    hyperplasia to prostate cancer; Prostate cancer; Male androgenic
    alopecia; Endometriosis
    A-myb Cancers expressing this gene
    Androgen receptor Androgen dependent cancers; Diabetes mellitus type 1;
    Atherosclerosis; Promote wound healing; Endometriosis
    AP-2 Neuroblastoma
    (TFAP2A; BOFS)
    AP-4 Cancer
    (TFAP4)
    Apoliprotein B (Apo B) Atherosclerosis; Congestive heart failure; Familial
    hypercholesterolemia; Statin resistant hypercholesterolemia;
    HDL/LDL cholesterol imbalance; dyslipidemias; Acquired
    hyperlipidemia; Coronary artery disease; Thrombosis
    Apolipoprotein epsilon 4 Alzheimer's Disease
    ATF-3 Medical conditions where a pathologic apoptosis program plays a
    key role; Medical disorders mediated by Toll-like receptors;
    Hodgkin's disease; Insulin-resistant or type 2 diabetes
    B-myb Cancers expressing this gene; Cancers expressing this gene and
    SGP2 (clusterin)
    β-amyloid precursor protein Alzheimer's Disease; Amyloidosis; Prostate cancer, Lung cancer;
    Pancreatic cancer; Head & neck cancer; Thyroid cancer
    BCL-2 alpha Cancers expressing reduced amounts of TR3 and/or defective TR3
    (Bcl-2) induced programmed cell death
    BCL-2 beta Cancers expressing reduced amounts of TR3 and/or defective TR3
    (Bcl-2) induced programmed cell death
    BCL-X Hepatic ischemia and ischemia-reperfusion injury; Heart failure;
    (Bcl-2-like 1; BCL2L1; BCL2L: Bcl-xS) Prevent atherosclerotic plaque rupture; Liver allograft rejection
    Pro-apoptotic form of gene product
    BCL-xL Lung cancer; Mesothelioma; Colorectal cancer; Malignant
    (Bcl-2-like 1; BCL2L1; BCL2L) melanoma; Head and neck cancer; Ovarian cancer; Transitional cell
    Anti-apoptotic form of gene product carcinoma; Esophageal cancer; Pancreatic cancer; Glioblastoma;
    Breast cancer; Psoriasis
    BSAP B cell malignancies
    (Pax5)
    C/EBP Cancers expressing this gene; Inflammation; Kidney damage
    (C/EBPdelta; CEBPD; NF-IL6beta) secondary to disseminated intravascular coagulation or ischemia
    reperfusion injury
    c-fos Cancers expressing this gene; Rheumatoid arthritis; Heart failure
    c-jun Osteosarcoma; Fatty Liver Disease; Fulminant hepatitis;
    Endometriosis; Heart failure
    c-myb Colon and breast cancer; Atherosclerosis
    c-myc Malignant melanoma; Cancers over-expressing this gene (compared
    to corresponding normal tissue)
    CDK-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Graft coronary artery disease; Cancers
    (p34; cdc2) with deficient wild type p53 expression (defined as lacking p53-
    dependent cell cycle checkpoints)
    CDK-2 Alzheimer's Disease; Pemphigus vulgaris
    CDK-3 Cancers expressing this gene
    CDK-4 Obesity; Cancers with mutated ras gene
    CDK-4 Inhibitor Expand normal stem cell numbers for applications such as
    (Arf) transplantation; Promote reprogramming of stem cells including iPS;
    Protection of normal tissue from toxic effects of cancer
    chemotherapy or radiation; Alopecia; Wound healing; Diabetes
    mellitus; Lymphomas with mutant p53; Cancers with deficient wild
    type p53 expression (defined as lacking p53-dependent cell cycle
    checkpoints)
    cHF.10 Male contraception; Cancers expressing this gene
    (ZNF35; HF10)
    COX-2 Inflammation; Cancer; Alzheimer's Disease; Parkinson's Disease;
    Heterotopic ossification; Endometriosis; Autoimmune disease;
    Multiple sclerosis; Allergic encephalomyelitis; Insulin-dependent
    diabetes mellitus; Proteinuria; Age-related macular degeneration;
    Schizophrenia; Depression; Myocardial infarction; Stromal keratitis;
    Peutz-Jeghers polyposis
    cp19 Cancers expressing this gene; Lung cancer
    (Hox C4)
    CREB Malignant melanoma; Leukemia; Cerebral ischemia; Bipolar
    disorder; Major depressive disorder; Cocaine addiction; Insulin-
    resistant or type 2 diabetes
    CREBP-1 Block side effects due to interferon production in response to
    (ATF-2) systemic administration of double stranded oligo therapeutics;
    Endometriosis; Cancer; Alzheimer's Disease
    CREM Systemic lupus erythematosus; High cholesterol; Achieve male
    contraception
    Cyclin A Prostate cancer; Acute leukemia; Squamous cell carcinoma; Renal
    cell carcinoma; Soft tissue sarcoma; Chronic ulcers such as might
    occur on legs; Psoriasis
    Cyclin B Breast cancer; Head and neck squamous cell cancer; Gastric cancer;
    Alzheimer's Disease; Vascular dementia; Psoriasis; Hereditary
    tyrosinemia type I
    Cyclin D1 Endometriosis; Inflammation; Cancer angiogenesis; Maintaining
    self-renewal capabilities of non-malignant stem cells for applications
    such as expanding their number for transplantation; Promoting
    toxicity of chemotherapy and radiation to non-malignant cells
    Cyclin D2 Maintaining self-renewal capabilities of non-malignant stem cells for
    applications such as expanding their number for transplantation; B-
    cell malignancies
    Cyclin D3 Prostate cancer; T cell malignancies; Transplant rejection
    DB-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Atherosclerosis; Hypertension
    (ZNF161; VEZF1) including that associated with type 2 diabetes; Cardiac hypertrophy;
    Congestive heart failure
    Dopamine D2 Receptors Psychosis; Erectile dysfunction; Neuroendocrine tumors
    DP-1 Atherosclerosis; Promote stem cell proliferation for applications
    such as expanding their number for transplantation in the case of
    normal stem cells or to put malignant stem cells in cycle in order to
    sensitized them to cell cycle dependent therapies; Medical conditions
    where a pathologic apoptosis program plays a key role; Cancers with
    mutated p53; Cancers with over-expressed c-myc
    E12 Cancers expressing this gene
    E2A Cancers expressing this gene
    E2F-1 Atherosclerosis; Promote stem cell proliferation; Medical conditions
    (RBAP-1) where a pathologic apoptosis program plays a key role; Cancers with
    mutated p53; Cancers with over-expressed c-myc; Prostate cancer;
    Obesity; Fat induced diabetes; Parkinson's Disease
    E2F-2 Essential hypertension; Put quiescent cancer cells in cycle
    E47 Cancers expressing this gene
    E4BP4 Osteoporosis
    (NFIL3)
    ELK-1 Liver cancer; Neurodegeneration
    Epidermal growth factor receptor Cancers that over-express this receptor and/or have activating
    mutations of this receptor
    ERM Breast cancer
    (ETV5)
    Estrogen receptor Hormone dependent gynecologic cancers
    ERG-1 Atherosclerosis; Cancer; Restenosis; Ischemia reperfusion injury;
    Allograft rejection; Inflammation; Autoimmune disease
    ERK-1 and 3; ERK subunits a and b Cancers expressing at least one of these genes; Alzheimer's Disease;
    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Renal failure; Inflammation;
    Graft vs host disease
    Ets-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Pancreatic cancer; Vascular
    inflammation; Arthritis; Prevent Fas mediated death of liver cells
    (see FAS/APO-1 below)
    Ets-2 Down's Syndrome; Hormone independent gynecologic cancers
    FAS/APO-1 Myocardial infarction; Fatty liver disease; Fulminant hepatitis;
    (CD-95; Tnfrsf6) Cirrhosis of the liver; Alcoholic hepatitis; Cholestatic liver injury;
    Acute liver failure; Cystic fibrosis; Systemic lupus erythematosus;
    Arthritis; Parkinson's Disease; Autoimmune diabetes; Central
    nervous system injuries, Demyelinating diseases; Stroke;
    Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy; Neurodegenerative diseases;
    Spinal cord injury; Ischemia -reperfusion injury
    FLT-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Psoriasis; Rheumatoid arthritis;
    (VEGFR-1) Corneal neovascularization; Degenerative achilles tendon disease
    FLT-4 Cancers expressing this gene; Prevent atherosclerotic plaque rupture
    (VEGFR-3)
    Fra-1 Cancers expressing this gene
    Fra-2 Pulmonary fibrosis; Breast cancer; Cocaine addiction
    GADD-153 Medical conditions where a pathologic apoptosis program plays a
    (CHOP) key role; Parkinson's Disease
    GADD-45 Medical conditions where a pathologic apoptosis program plays a
    key role; Sensitize cancers to cytotoxic treatments dependent on cell
    proliferation and/or DNA replication; Diamond-Blackfan syndrome;
    Shwachman Diamond Syndrome and other disorders involving
    defective ribosomes
    GATA-2 Blast crisis CML with altered GATA-2
    GATA-3 Allergic responses; Breast cancer; Pancreatic cancer
    GATA-4 Ovarian cancer; Testicular cancer; Retard differentiation of
    embryonic or iPS cells
    HB9 Cancers expressing this gene
    (MNX-1; HLXB9)
    HB24 Cancers expressing this gene
    (HLX-1)
    h-plk Cancers expressing this gene
    (ERV3)
    Hox1.3 Cancers expressing this gene
    (HoxA5)
    Hox 2.3 Cancers expressing this gene
    (HoxB7)
    Hox2.5 Cancers expressing this gene
    (HoxB9)
    Hox 5.4 Cancers expressing this gene; Lung cancer
    (Hox D8)
    Hox4A Cancers expressing this gene
    (HoxD3)
    Hox 4D Cancers expressing this gene; Lung cancer
    (HoxD10)
    Hox 7 Cancers expressing this gene
    (MSX-1)
    HoxA1 Cancers expressing this gene
    HoxA10 Cancers expressing this gene
    HoxC6 Cancers expressing this gene; Gastrointestinal carcinoids
    HS1 Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; Systemic lupus erythematosus
    (14-3-3 beta/alpha; YWHAB)
    HTF4a Autoimmunity; Transplant rejection; Graft verses host disease
    (TCF12; HEB)
    I-Rel Leukemia; Lymphoma; Prostate cancer; Breast cancer
    (RelB)
    ICE Autoimmune disease; Psoriasis; Inflammation; Septic shock; ARDS;
    (CASP1; Caspase-1) Gouty arthritis; Melvalonate kinase deficiency syndrome;
    Myocardial infarction; Neurodegenerative diseases; Ischemia
    reperfusion injury; Heart failure; Diabetic retinopathy; Age-related
    cognitive dysfunction; Retinitis pigmentosa; Convulsions;
    Pancreatitis; Pancreatic cancer; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
    ICH-1L Protect tissues from toxic effects of chemotherapy or radiation;
    (CASP2L; Caspase-2L) Epilepsy; High levels of cholesterol and/or triacylglycerol; Prevent
    atherosclerotic plaque rupture; Alzheimer's Disease
    ICH-1S Promote toxic effects of chemotherapy or radiation; Prevent survival
    (CASP2S; Caspase-2S) of cells giving rise to atherosclerotic plaques
    ID-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Acquired cholesteatoma; Improve
    hematopoietic stem cell transplant conditioning regimens;
    Differentiation of iPS or ES cells into nerve cells; Psoriasis;
    Ischemia-reperfusion injury
    ID-2 Colon cancer; Pancreatic cancer; Uveal melanoma;
    Vasculoproliferative disorders; B-cell lymphoma; Neuroblastoma;
    Brain cancers expressing this gene; Ewing sarcoma;
    Neurodegenerative diseases
    ID-3 Medical conditions where a pathologic apoptosis program plays a
    key role; Vasculoproliferative disorders
    IRF-1 Block interferon production in response to double stranded oligo
    therapeutics; Anemia associated with medical conditions involving
    interferon production or treatment with interferon; Sensitize cancers
    expressing EGRF to cytotoxic treatments dependent on cell
    proliferation and/or DNA replication; Myelodysplasis and cancers
    expressing alternatively spliced IRF-1
    IRF-2 Esophageal cancer; Leukemia
    ISGF3 Conditions where a pathologic apoptosis program plays a key role;
    (Stat1) Asthma; Psoriasis; Ischemia-reperfusion injury; Rheumatoid
    arthritis; Atherosclerosis; Inflammation; Renal cell carcinoma;
    Transplant rejection; Cancers with phosphorylated ISGF3
    junB Sensitize cancers to cytotoxic treatments dependent on cell
    proliferation and/or DNA replication; Allergic responses; Psoriasis
    vulgaris; CD 30 expressing lymphomas; Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
    junD Cancers expressing this gene; Inflammation; Osteoporosis; Liver
    fibrosis
    KDR/FLK-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Rheumatoid arthritis: Macular
    (VEGFR-2) degeneration; Stroke; Edema; Degenerative Achilles tendon disease
    L-myc Merkel cell carcinoma; Ovarian cancer
    Lyl-1 Leukemia
    MAD-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Sensitize cancers to anti-
    (MXD-1; MAD) cancertreatments dependent on cell proliferation and/or DNA
    replication
    MAD-3 Ectodermal dysplasia with immune deficiency; Medical disorders
    (NFKBIA; NFKBI; IKBA; promoted by activated NF-kappaB
    IkappaBalpha)
    MADS/MEF-2 Cardiac hypertrophy; B-cell malignancies; Myeloid leukemias;
    (MEF2C) Inflammation
    MAX C-myc over-expressing cancers (compared to corresponding normal
    tissue)
    Mcl-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Rheumatoid arthritis
    MDR-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Drug resistant epilepsy
    MRP Cancers expressing this gene
    MSX-2 Pancreatic cancer; Vascular calcification
    MTF-1 Prion disease
    mts1 Cancers expressing this gene; Pulmonary vascular disease; Disorders
    (S100A4) characterized by fibrosis and inflammation such as: cardiac
    hypertrophy with fibrosis; Arthritis; Neurodegenerative disease
    MTS-2 Actinic keratosis; Expansion of normal stem cells for purposes such
    (CDKN2B; p15; INK4B) as transplantation; Protection of normal tissue from toxic effects of
    cancer chemotherapy or radiation; Alopecia; Wound healing;
    Diabetes mellitus type 1
    Mxi1 Renal cell carcinoma; Sensitize cancers to anti-cancertreatments
    dependent on cell proliferation and/or DNA replication; Hypoxic
    cancers
    MZF-1 Liver cancer
    NET Cancers expressing the gene
    (ELK3; ERP)
    NF-ATC Autoimmune disease; Rheumatoid arthritis; Ulcerative colitis;
    (NFAT2; NFATC1) Inflammation; Restenosis
    NF-IL6 AIDS; Inflammation; Cancers expressing this gene; Sensitize
    (C/EBPbeta; CEBPB) cancers with wild type p53 to chemotherapy radiation or other
    genotoxic anti-cancer agents; Atherosclerosis; Fibrosis of liver; Fatty
    liver disease; Fulminant hepatitis; Cirrhosis of the liver; Alcoholic
    hepatitis; Cholestatic liver Injury; Acute liver failure; Rheumatoid
    arthritis
    NF-IL6beta Cancers expressing this gene; Inflammation; Kidney damage
    (C/EBPdelta; CEBPD) secondary to disseminated intravascular coagulation or ischemia
    reperfusion injury; Rheumatoid arthritis
    NF-kappaB Cancers expressing this gene; Interferon production in response to
    Includes 51 KD, 65 KD and A subunits double stranded oligo therapeutics; Autoimmune disease; Psoriasis;
    as well as intron 15. Osteoarthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Ulcerative colitis; Osteoporosis;
    Cerebral ischemia; Inflammation; Acute pancreatitis; Heart failure;
    Cardiac hypertrophy; Cerebral aneurysm; Type 2 diabetes; Allergic
    asthma; Prevent deep vein thrombosis
    N-myc Neuroblastoma; Hepatocellular carcinoma
    OCT-1 Atherosclerosis; Manifestations of Herpes simplex infections;
    (POU2F1; NF-A1; OTF-1) Cancer; Carcinogenesis; Sensitize cancers to anti-cancertreatments
    dependent on cell proliferation and/or DNA replication; Rheumatoid
    arthritis; Beta-globin disorders characterized by reduced expression
    of gamma-globin gene(s); Sickle cell anemia; Beta-thalassemia
    OCT-2 Cancers expressing this gene; t(14; 18) lymphoma
    (POU2F2; NF-A2; OTF-2)
    OTF-3 Cancers expressing this gene particularly cancer stem cells; Inducing
    (POU5F1; OCT-3; OCT-4; OTF4; Oct-3/4) differentiation of stem cells including for tissue repair
    Oct-T1 Cancers expressing both this gene and wild type p53; Cervical
    (POU4F1; Brn-3a) cancer; Prostate cancer; Neuroendocrine cancers; Systemic lupus
    erythematosus
    Oct-T2 Disorders characterized by expression of this gene and by pathologic
    (POU4F2; Brn-3b) expression of p53-dependent apoptosis (see p53 below); Breast
    cancer
    OTF-3C Cancers expressing this gene
    (POU5F1P1)
    OZF Pancreatic cancer; Colon cancer
    (Znf146)
    p40 Crohn's disease; Arthritis
    PTEN Cancers with mutated p53; Activate cell proliferation including
    (MMAC1; TEP1) hematopoietic stem cells; Regeneration of damaged nerves
    p53 Sensitize cancers with wild type p53 to cytotoxic therapies; Cancers
    with mutant p53; Sensitize cancers with mutant p53 to the induction
    of apoptosis by anyapoptosis inducer; Stem cell quiescence including
    malignant stem cells (expand normal stem cells and progeny or put
    malignant stem cells in cycle so they can be attacked by cell cycle
    dependent anti-cancer agents; Heart failure; Medical conditions
    where apoptosis is promoted; Inhibiting apoptosis in non-malignant
    stem cells; Huntington's disease; Diamond-Blackfan syndrome;
    Shwachman Diamond Syndrome and other disorders involving
    defective ribosomes; Fatty liver disease; Stress induced
    immunosuppression; Sequellae associated with subarachnoid
    hemorrhage; Pathologic hyperpigmentation; Hyperkeratosis; Toxic
    effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation including but not
    limited to the following: hair loss, mucositis, myelosupression,
    hearing loss, peripheral nerve damage, impaired brain function and
    kidney damage; Inflammatory bowel disease; Crohn's disease;
    ARDS; Multiple organ failure; Sensitize cancers to cytotoxic
    treatments dependent on cell proliferation and/or DNA replication;
    Amyloid deposition; Neurodegenerative diseases; Ischemia-
    reperfusion injury; Avoidance of effects of cytotoxic therapy due to
    quiescence of malignant stem cells; Reduced expansion of non-
    malignant tissue due to stem cell quiescence; Prevent demyelination;
    p53 (continued) Multiple sclerosis; Alzheimer's Disease; Parkinson's disease;
    Prevent cell death associated with diabetic ischemia; Spontaneous
    apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, senescence and differentiation in stem
    cells including embryonic stem cells and iPS such as reduces the
    efficiency of preparing such cells for transplantation organ
    generation, the generation of animals or for use in scientific research;
    Prevent cell death associated with cerebral ischemia; Prevent cell
    death associated with myocardial infarction including consequent
    heart wall rupture; Schizophrenia; Psoriasis; AIDS; Prevent rupture
    of atherosclerotic plaques; Prevent aneurysm rupture; Graft vs host
    disease; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Promote healing of hard to
    heal wounds; Capillary leak syndrome; Emphysema; Reduce
    enodosomal, lysosomal orphagosomal sequestration of oligo
    therapeutics with the effect of increasing their biologic activity;
    Promote proliferation of stem cells such as hematopoietic or neural;
    Diabetes mellitus including insulin resistant diabetes;
    Ribosomopathies
    p107 Obesity; Sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy, radiation or other
    (RBL1; PRB1; cp107) genotoxic anti-cancer agents
    PDEGF Cancers expressing this gene; Atherosclerosis; Restenosis;
    (Platelet-derived endothelial growth Pulmonary hypertension; Renal diseases; Fibrotic diseases including
    factor) pulmonary fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, scleroderma, glomerulosclerosis
    and cardiac fibrosis; Rheumatoid arthritis
    PDGFR Cancers expressing this gene; Atherosclerosis; Restenosis;
    (Platelet-derived growth factor receptor) Pulmonary hypertension; Renal diseases; Fibrotic diseases including
    pulmonary fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, scleroderma, glomerulosclerosis
    and cardiac fibrosis; Rheumatoid arthritis
    PES Inflammation; Platelet Aggregation; Cancer; Asthma
    (Prostaglandin Endoperoxide Synthase
    1; Cox-1)
    Pim-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Hypoxic cancers; Prostate cancer;
    Leukemia; Lymphoma; Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
    PKC alpha Cancers expressing this gene; Heart failure
    PKC beta B cell lymphoma; Restenosis; Type 2 diabetes; Diabetic retinopathy
    PKC delta Cancers expressing this gene; Neurodegenerative disease; Diabetes
    PKC epsilon Acute myelogenous leukemia; Prostate cancer; Ischemia-reperfusion
    injury; Graft rejection; Allergic responses
    PKC gamma Parkinson's Disease; Retinitis pigmentosa
    PKC iota Allergic airway inflammation; Glioblastoma
    (PKC lambda)
    PKC mu Pathological cardiac remodeling
    (PRKD1; Protein kinase D1)
    PKC theta Insulin resistance; Autoimmune diseases; Rheumatoid arthritis;
    Breast cancer
    PKC zeta Autoimmune diseases; Inflammation; Allergic responses; Follicular
    lymphoma; Sepsis mediated tissue injury; Restenosis
    PCSK9 Atherosclerosis; Hypercholesterolemia; Statin resistant
    (NARC-1) hypercholesterolemia; HDL/LDL cholesterol imbalance;
    dyslipidemias; Acquired hyperlipidemia; Coronary artery disease
    Rb Sensitize cancers to chemotherapy, radiation or other genotoxic anti-
    (RB1; pRb, Retinoblastoma 1; OSRC; cancer agents; Bladder cancer; Lung cancer; Uveal melanoma
    pp110; p105-Rb)
    Rb-2 Induce cell proliferation for various purposes including replacement
    (RBL2; p130; RBR-2) of damaged tissues
    Ref-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Malignant melanoma; Pancreatic
    (APEX1; APE; APE1; HAP1; APEN; cancer; Ovarian cancer; Prostate cancer;
    AP endonuclease 1) Sensitize cancers to chemotherapy, radiation or other genotoxic anti-
    cancer agents; Cancer chemoprevention; Inflammation; Asthma;
    Ischemia-reperfusion injury; Induction of cardiac differentiation by
    stem cells such as for use in cardiac repair
    REL Inflammatory bowel disease; Breast cancer; B-cell malignancies;
    (c-Rel) Islet allograft rejection; Allergic asthma
    SAP-1 Prostate cancer
    (ELK4; SRF accessory protein 1)
    SCL T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia
    (TAL-1; TCL5; Stem cell protein)
    SGP2 Cancers expressing this gene; Sensitizing cancers to chemotherapy,
    (clusterin; CLU; TRPM-2; radiation or other genotoxic anti-cancer agents; Cervical cancer;
    Apolipoprotein J; APOJ; Complement Laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma; Osteosarcoma; Liver cancer;
    associated protein SP-40, 40; Colorectal cancer; Ovarian cancer; Bladder cancer; Breast cancer
    Complement cytolysis inhibitor; KUB1; including sensitizing breast cancer to biologies in the case of breast
    CLI; Testosterone-repressed prostate cancers responsive to hormonal-pathway manipulation including
    message 2) sensitizing them to the use of estrogen antagonists; Prostate cancer
    including sensitizing this cancer to biologies in the case of prostate
    cancers responsive to hormonal-pathway manipulation including the
    use of estrogen therapy, androgen deprivation therapy including
    gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists and luteinizing
    hormone-releasing hormone agonists (LHRH analogs) as well as
    cytochrome P450(17alpha)/C17-20 lyase inhibitors such as
    abiraterone; Preeclampsia; Early stage atherosclerosis; Fuch's
    endothelial dystrophy
    Sp-1 Prevent Fas mediated death of liver cells; Prevent rupture of
    atherosclerotic plaques; Cancers expressing the nerve growth factor
    receptor p75NTR; Neuroblastoma; Hepatocellular cancer;
    Esophageal cancer; Breast cancer; Pancreatic cancer; Airway
    inflammatory disease including asthma; Prevent death of non-
    malignant brain cells as a result of hypo-osmolar stress which is a
    common complication of traumatic brain injury, stroke, epileptic
    sezures, microbial infections and brain cancer; Neuropathic pain
    following nerve injury; Alzheimer's Disease; Prevent hair follicle
    regression; Psoriasis; Prion disease; Prevent keloid formation;
    Preventlung fibrosis
    Sp-3 Cancers that express this gene; Neuroblastoma; Hepatocellular
    carcinoma
    Sp-4 Alzheimer's Disease; Pancreatic cancer
    Spi-1 Promote retention of self-renewal capacity of hematopoietic stem
    (PU.1) cells in order to expand their numbers for various purposes including
    stem cell transplant; Anemia; Osteoporosis
    Spi-B B-cell Cancers; Autoimmunity
    (PU.1 related)
    SRF Alzheimer's Disease; Pulmonary fibrosis; Liver cancer; Prostate
    cancer; Heart failure
    TGFβ Lung cancer; Prostate cancer; Breast cancer; Colorectal cancer;
    (TGFβ 1: TGFB1; TGFB) Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Chronic graft rejection
    TNFα Multiple sclerosis; Multiple-systems organ failure syndrome;
    Rheumatoid arthritis; Toxic shock syndrome; Crohn's disease;
    Psoriasis; Ankylosing spondylitis; Endothelial cell inflammation;
    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Asthma; Uveitis; Graft
    rejection
    TR3 Inflammation; Medical indications characterized by pathologic
    (NUR77; NR4A1; NAK-1) expression of apoptosis
    TR4 Cancers expressing this gene and expressing reduced amounts of
    (NR2C2; TR2R1) TR3 and/or expressing defective TR3 induced programmed cell
    death
    USF Familial combined hyperlipidemia
    (USF1; MLTF)
    VEGF Cancers expressing this gene; Psoriasis; Rheumatoid arthritis;
    Macular degeneration; Inflammatory bowel disease; Periodontal
    disease
    Waf-1 Cancers expressing this gene; Obesity; Protection of gastrointestinal
    (p21; CAP20; CDKN1; CIP1; MDA6) tract from radiation toxicity; Insulin resistance; Duchenne muscular
    dystrophy; Sarcoidosis; Fatty liver disease; Emphysema; Diamond-
    Blackfan syndrome; Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome and other
    disorders involving mutant and defective ribosomes; Tissue damage
    due to influenza infection; Tissue damage due to Ebola infection
    WRN Treatment of Werner syndrome via inhibition of Wrn
    WT-1 Brain cancer; Osteogenic sarcoma; Hepatocellular cancer; Promote
    (GUD; WAGR; WIT-2; WT33; Wilms' cancer cell proliferation by cancers that express the gene to sensitize
    tumor protein; WT1) them to cell cycle dependent anti-cancer treatments
    YY-1 Cancer (but contraindicated for use in combination with
    (YY1; NF-E1; Yin-Yang-1; UCRBP; chemotherapeutic agents that act on microtubules such as taxanes);
    INO80S) Cancer cell resistance to TRAIL induced apoptosis
  • The gene targets in Table 2 include a number of genes that are subject to alternative splicing and/or to alternative translational start sites. The medical disorders and other commercial uses associated with these gene targets take this fact into consideration and not all such homologs of a given gene will be appropriate for the indicated use. Such differences are well established in the art and form the basis for differential targeting of homologs of the same gene by oligos targeting structurally and/or functionally variable portions of the transcripts of such genes, for example, the alpha and beta forms of Bcl-2 or Bcl-X and bcl-XL or SGP2 for which distinguishing oligos are provided for herein. The phrases “cancers expressing this gene” or cancers expressing one or more of these genes” are to be interpreted as including both normal and structurally abnormal forms of the gene and to include all of the supporting cell types (fibroblasts, stroma, blood vessels etc.) within the definition of the cancer. Oligos to be used to treat cancer will typically be used in combination with other anti-cancer agents with established activity in the disease in order to improve outcomes.
  • Representative functional siRNA or conventional antisense oligo compounds known in the art and directed to one of several examples of gene targets are provided below. A variety of medical applications for inhibitors of these exemplified gene targets are provided in Table 2. The non-limiting reconfigured established RNAi and conventional antisense oligos shown in the examples are not meant to provide an exhaustive set of illustrations of how the designs presented herein can be applied in general or in particular to the siRNA or conventional antisense oligos provided in each of the examples. One skilled in the art can readily use the design principles and the examples provided herein to arrive at a very limited set of compounds that can be generated in accordance with the present invention using any given RNAi or conventional antisense oligo.
  • The following examples are provided to illustrate certain embodiments of the present invention. They are not intended to limit the invention in any way. In these examples siRNA compounds with previously established activity to a particular gene target are included along with their novel reconfigured counterparts designed for use in the two-step method as provided by the present invention. These established siRNAs, however, could be used in the two-step method if carriers are used to deliver each strand intracellularly where the carriers provide sufficient nuclease protection to maintain the strand prior to its forming a duplex with its partner stand intracellularly.
  • Example 1 Compounds for Down-Regulating P53 Expression
  • p53 is involved in the regulation of a variety of cellular programs including those involving stem cell self-renewal, cellular proliferation and viability such as proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, senescence, mitotic catastrophe and autophagy. The pathological expression or failure of expression of such programs, and the death programs in particular, underlie many of the morbidities associated with a wide variety of medical conditions where blocking p53 function can prevent much if not all of such morbidity (Table 2).
  • In cancer, for example, both wild type and mutant p53 play key roles in tumor maintenance that include increasing the threshold for the induction of programs that can lead to the death of the cancer cells. Typically the use of a p53 inhibitor, such as an siRNA directed to the p53 gene target, in combination with an inducer of a cell death program, such as a DNA damaging agent, can be used to promote the death of cancer cells. At the same time inhibition of p53 protects many normal tissues from the toxic effects of many such second agents including chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Further, the present inventor has found that Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) can be used in combination with ss-siRNA, double stranded siRNA or conventional antisense oligos that inhibit p53 (such as but not limited to those described in PCT/US09/02365) as a method for treating cancer (Brownell et al., “Boron Neutron Capture Therapy” In; “Therapy of Nuclear Medicine,” RP Spencer (ed), Grune and Stratton, NY, 1978; Barth et al. Cancer Res 50: 1061, 1990; Summers and Shaw, Curr Med Chem 8: 1147, 2001). Specifically, the 10B atom undergoes fission to generate 7Li and energetic alpha (helium) particles following capturing a thermal neutron. Within their 10-14 mm path, such particles cause DNA and other types of damage that enhance apoptosis and other inactivating effects on cancer cells when wild type or mutated p53 is inhibited.
  • The use of conventional antisense oligos which function using an RNAse H mechanism of action and directed to the p53 gene target have been studied in vitro and in patients. These oligos have been shown to promote the anti-cancer effects of certain conventional treatments and to protect normal tissues from genome damaging agents. Few cell types, with the exception of stem cells, possess sufficient levels of RNase H to support conventional antisense oligos dependent on this enzyme for their activity. Consequently, RNAi directed to the p53 gene target which are not dependent on RNAse H activity for function offer the potential advantage of being active in vivo in a broader range of cell types. As for RNAi, generally this potential is severely limited by the well known problems associated with the poor uptake of conventional double stranded RNAi uptake in vivo.
  • Molitoris et al. (J Am Soc Nephrol 20: 1754, 2009) presents data showing that double stranded siRNA directed to the p53 gene target can attenuate cisplatin induced kidney damage in rats. The siRNA described was a blunt ended 19-mer with alternating 2′-0-methy/native ribose nucleosides. A carrier was not needed because the proximal tubule cells in the kidney are both a major site of kidney injury associated with ischemia or nephrotoxicity such as that caused by cisplatin and is the site of oligo reabsorption by the kidney. Thus, this carrier free approach with conventional siRNA is of very limited use for preventing the pathologic effects of p53-dependent programs that kill cells or otherwise incapacitate them, but it does illustrate the potential usefulness of inhibiting p53 for this medical indication.
  • Zhao et al. (Cell Stem Cell 3: 475, 2008) demonstrated that inhibiting p53 expression with siRNA can be used to enhance the production of iPSC. Human fibroblasts, for example, were converted to iPSC by using expression vectors for several genes to gain their expression in the cells. The efficiency of iPSC production was very low but was increased approximately two logs when shRNA directed to the p53 gene target was installed in the cells using a lentiviral vector. The approach described herein provides the means to transiently suppress p53 compared to the long term suppression provided by shRNA. This is important when the iPSC are to be induced to differentiate into particular cell type such as would be needed in tissue repair applications. As described herein the two-step administration approach combined with the linkage of a short peptide CPP to each strand provides an efficient way to obtain RNAi activity in stem cells in vitro with minimal carrier related toxicity.
  • RNAi compounds directed to the human p53 gene target that can be reconfigured for use in the two-step method provided by the present invention are found in WO 2006/035434, US 2009/0105173 and US 2004/0014956. FIGS. 3-10 provide novel compositions of matter which include many of the features heretofore described for increasing cellular uptake and/or stability for down modulating p53 expression in target cells. The sequence used for human p53 is provided in GenBank, Accession No. NM000546.4.
  • Table 2 lists a variety of disorders which would benefit with treatment of the p53 directed compounds described herein. For example, heart failure is a serious condition that results from various cardiovascular diseases. p53 plays a significant role in the development of heart failure. Cardiac angiogenesis directly related to the maintenance of cardiac function as well as the development of cardiac hypertrophy induced by pressure-overload. Upregulated p53 induced the transition from cardiac hypertrophy to heart failure through the suppression of hypoxia inducible factor-1(HIF-1), which regulates angiogenesis in the hypertrophied heart. In addition, p53 is known to promote apoptosis, and apoptosis is thought to be involved in heart failure. Thus, p53 is a key molecule which triggers the development of heart failure via multiple mechanisms.
  • Accordingly, the p53 directed compounds of the invention can be employed to diminish or alleviate the pathological symptoms associated with cardiac cell death due to apoptosis of heart cells. Initially the compound(s) will be incubated with a cardiac cell and the ability of the oligo to modulate p53 gene function (e.g., reduction in production p53, apoptosis, improved cardiac cell signaling, Ca++ transport, or morphology etc) can be assessed. For example, the H9C2 cardiac muscle cell line can be obtained from American Type Culture Collection (Manassas, Va., USA) at passage 14 and cultured in DMEM complete culture medium (DMEM/F12 supplemented with 10% fetal calf serum (FCS), 2 mM a-glutamine, 0.5 mg/1 Fungizone and 50 mg/1 gentamicin). This cell line is suitable for characterizing the inhibitory functions of the p53 directed compounds of the invention and for characterization of modified versions thereof. HL-1 cells, described by Clayton et al. (1998) PNAS 95:2979-2984, can be repeatedly passaged and yet maintain a cardiac-specific phenotype. These cells can also be used to further characterize the effects of the oligos described herein.
  • It appears that expression of the apoptosis regulator p53 is governed, in part, by a molecule that in mice is termed murine double minute 2 (MDM2), or in man, human double minute 2 (HDM2), an E3 enzyme that targets p53 for ubiquitination and proteasomal processing, and by the deubiquitinating enzyme, herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin-specific protease (HAUSP), which rescues p53 by removing ubiquitin chains from it. Birks et al. (Cardiovasc Res. 2008 Aug. 1; 79(3):472-80) examined whether elevated expression of p53 was associated with dysregulation of ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) components and activation of downstream effectors of apoptosis in human dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). In these studies, left ventricular myocardial samples were obtained from patients with DCM (n 12) or from non-failing (donor) hearts (n=17). Western blotting and immunohistochemistry revealed that DCM tissues contained elevated levels of p53 and its regulators HDM2, MDM2 or the homologs thereof found in other species, and HAUSP (all P<0.01) compared with non-failing hearts. DCM tissues also contained elevated levels of polyubiquitinated proteins and possessed enhanced 20S-proteasome chymotrypsin-like activities (P<0.04) as measured in vitro using a fluorogenic substrate. DCM tissues contained activated caspases-9 and -3 (P<0.001) and reduced expression of the caspase substrate PARP-1 (P<0.05). Western blotting and immunohistochemistry revealed that DCM tissues contained elevated expression levels of caspase-3-activated DNAse (CAD; P<0.001), which is a key effector of DNA fragmentation in apoptosis and also contained elevated expression of a potent inhibitor of CAD (ICAD-S; P<0.01). These investigators concluded that expression of p53 in human DCM is associated with dysregulation of UPS components, which are known to regulate p53 stability. Elevated p53 expression and caspase activation in DCM was not associated with activation of both CAD and its inhibitor, ICAD-S. These findings are consistent with the concept that apoptosis may be interrupted and therefore potentially reversible in human HF.
  • In view of the foregoing, it is clear that the p53 directed compounds provided herein should exhibit efficacy for the treatment of heart failure. Accordingly, in one embodiment of the invention, p53 directed compounds are administered to patients to inhibit cardiac cell apoptosis, thereby reducing the incidence of heart failure.
  • Cellular transformation during the development of cancer involves multiple alterations in the normal pattern of cell growth regulation and dysregulated transcriptional control. Primary events in the process of carcinogenesis can involve the activation of oncogene function by some means (e.g., amplification, mutation, chromosomal rearrangement) or altered or aberrant expression of transcriptional regulator functions, and in many cases the removal of anti-oncogene function. One reason for the enhanced growth and invasive properties of some tumors may be the acquisition of increasing numbers of mutations in oncogenes and anti-oncogenes, with cumulative effect (Bear et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 86:7495-7499, 1989). Alternatively, insofar as oncogenes function through the normal cellular signalling pathways required for organismal growth and cellular function (reviewed in McCormick, Nature 363:15-16, 1993), additional events corresponding to mutations or deregulation in the oncogenic signalling pathways may also contribute to tumor malignancy (Gilks et al., Mol. Cell Biol. 13:1759-1768, 1993), even though mutations in the signalling pathways alone may not cause cancer.
  • p53 provides a powerful target for efficacious anti-cancer agents. Combination of the p53 directed compounds with one or more therapeutic agents that promote apoptosis effectively induces cell death in cancer cells. Such agents include but are not limited to conventional chemotherapy, radiation and biologic agent such as monoclonal antibodies and agents that manipulate hormone pathways.
  • p53 protein is an important transcription factor which plays a central role in cell cycle regulation mechanisms and cell proliferation control. Baran et al. performed studies to identify the expression and localization of p53 protein in lesional and non-lesional skin samples taken from psoriatic patients in comparison with healthy controls (Acta Dermatovenerol Alp Panonica Adriat. (2005) 14:79-83). Sections of psoriatic lesional and non-lesional skin (n=18) were examined. A control group (n=10) of healthy volunteers with no personal and family history of psoriasis was also examined. The expression of p53 was demonstrated using the avidin-biotin complex immunoperoxidase method and the monoclonal antibody DO7. The count and localization of cells with stained nuclei was evaluated using a light microscope in 10 fields for every skin biopsy. In lesional psoriatic skin, the count of p53 positive cells was significantly higher than in the skin samples taken from healthy individuals (p<0.01) and non-lesional skin taken from psoriatic patients (p=0.02). No significant difference between non-lesional psoriatic skin and normal skin was observed (p=0.1). A strong positive correlation between mean count and mean per cent of p53 positive cells was found (p<0.0001). p53 positive cells were located most commonly in the basal layer of the epidermis of both healthy skin and non-lesional psoriatic skin. In lesional psoriatic skin p53 positive cells were present in all layers of the epidermis. In view of these data, it is clear that p53 protein appears to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. Accordingly, compounds which effectively down regulate p53 expression in the skin used alone or in combination with other agents used to treat psoriasis should alleviate the symptoms of this painful and unsightly disorder.
  • Example 2 Compounds for Down-Regulating FAS (APO-1 or CD95) Expression
  • Fas (APO-1 or CD95) is a cell surface receptor that controls a pathway leading to cell death via apoptosis. This pathway is involved in a number of medical conditions where blocking fas function can provide a clinical benefit. See Table 2. Fas-mediated apoptosis, for example, is a key contributor to the pathology seen in a broad spectrum of liver diseases where inhibiting hepatocyte death can be life saving.
  • Lieberman and her associates have studied the effects of siRNA directed to the murine fas receptor gene target in murine models of fulminant hepatitis and renal ischemia-reperfusion injury (Song et al., Nature Med 9: 347, 2003; Hamar et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101: 14883, 2004). siRNA delivered by a hydrodynamic transfection method showed that such siRNA protects mice from concanavalin A generated hepatocyte apoptosis as evidenced by a reduction in liver fibrosis or from death associated with injections of a more hepatotoxic fas specific antibody. In the second study, siRNA was shown to protect mice from acute renal failure after clamping of the renal artery.
  • RNAi compounds directed to the human fas (apo-1 or CD95) receptor or ligand gene target are provided in WO 2009/0354343, US 2005/0119212, WO 2005/042719 and US 2008/0227733. FIGS. 11-16 provide novel compositions of matter which include many of the features heretofore described for increasing cellular uptake and/or stability for down modulating fas expression in target cells. The sequence used for human fas is provided in GenBank, Accession No. NM 000043.
  • Recently, Feng et al. reported that during myocardial ischemia, cardiomyocytes can undergo apoptosis or compensatory hypertrophy (Coron Artery Dis. 2008 November; 19(7):527-34). Fas expression is upregulated in the myocardial ischemia and is coupled to both apoptosis and hypertrophy of cardiomyocytes. Some reports suggested that Fas might induce myocardial hypertrophy. Apoptosis of ischemic cardiomyocytes and Fas expression in the nonischemic cardiomyocytes occurs during the early stage of ischemic heart failure. Hypertrophic cardiomyocytes easily undergo apoptosis in response to ischemia, after which apoptotic cardiomyocytes are replaced by fibrous tissue. In the late stage of ischemic heart failure, hypertrophy, apoptosis, and fibrosis are thought to accelerate each other and might thus form a vicious circle that eventually results in heart failure. Based on these observations, it is clear that Fas directed compounds provide useful therapeutic agents for ameliorating the pathological effects associated with myocardial ischemia and hypertrophy. Accordingly, fas directed oligos will be administered cardiac cells and their effects on apoptosis assessed. As discussed above, certain modifications of the fas directed compounds will also be assessed. These include conjugation to heart homing peptides, alterations to the phosphodiester backbone to improve bioavailability and stability, inclusion of CPPs, as well as encapsulation in liposomes or nanoparticles as appropriate.
  • In their article entitled, “Fas Pulls the Trigger on Psoriasis”, Gilhar et al. describe an animal model of psoriasis and the role played by Fas mediated signal transduction (2006) Am. J. Pathology 168:170-175). Fas/FasL signaling is best known for induction of apoptosis. However, there is an alternate pathway of Fas signaling that induces inflammatory cytokines, particularly tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-8 (IL-8). This pathway is prominent in cells that express high levels of anti-apoptotic molecules such as Bcl-xL. Because TNF-α is central to the pathogenesis of psoriasis and psoriatic epidermis has a low apoptotic index with high expression of Bcl-xL, these authors hypothesized that inflammatory Fas signaling mediates induction of psoriasis by activated lymphocytes. Noninvolved skin from psoriasis patients was grafted to beige-severe combined immunodeficiency mice, and psoriasis was induced by injection of FasL-positive autologous natural killer cells that were activated by IL-2. Induction of psoriasis was inhibited by injection of a blocking anti-Fas (ZB4) or anti-FasL (4A5) antibody on days 3 and 10 after natural killer cell injection. Anti-Fas monoclonal antibody significantly reduced cell proliferation (Ki-67) and epidermal thickness, with inhibition of epidermal expression of TNF-α, IL-15, HLA-DR, and ICAM-1. Fas/FasL signaling is an essential early event in the induction of psoriasis by activated lymphocytes and is necessary for induction of key inflammatory cytokines including TNF-α and IL-15.
  • Such data provide the rationale for therapeutic regimens entailing topical administration of Fas directed compounds and/or BCL-xL directed compounds for the treatment and alleviation of symptoms associated with psoriasis.
  • Example 3 Compounds for Down-Regulating Apo-B Expression
  • Apolipoprotein B (apoB) is an essential protein for the formation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and is the ligand for LDL receptor. LDL is responsible for carrying cholesterol to tissues. High levels of apoB can lead to plaques that cause atherosclerosis. Accordingly, blocking apo B expression is a useful treatment modality for a variety of medical disorders including those listed in Table 2.
  • Soutschek et al. (Nature 432: 173, 2004) have described two siRNA compounds simultaneously directed to both the murine and human apoB gene targets suitable for use in the present invention (FIGS. 27 and 29). These compounds have 21-mer passenger and 23-mer guide strands with cholesterol conjugated to the 3′-ends of the passenger strand. The cholesterol promoted both nuclease resistance and cellular uptake into the target tissues. The reductions in apoB expression in liver and jejunum were associated with reductions in plasma levels of apoB-100 protein and LDL. The authors indicated that the unconjugated compounds (lacking cholesterol) were inactive and concluded that the conjugated compounds need further optimization to achieve improved in vivo potency at doses and dose regimens that are clinically acceptable.
  • The same group of investigators filed US20060105976, WO06036916 and U.S. Pat. No. 7,528,118 that also provide siRNA compounds suitable for down modulating both human and mouse APO-B gene expression. Eighty-one distinct RNAi compounds with demonstrated activity in the human HepG2 and/or the murine liver cell line NmuLi that expresses apoB were described. Twenty-seven of these double stranded siRNA compounds were found to reduce apoB protein expression in HepG2 cells to less than 35% of control. One of these siRNA was tested in human apoB-100 transgenic mice where following three daily tail vein injections, the siRNA reduced mouse apoB mRNA levels 43+/−10% in liver and 58+/−12% in jejunum and also reduced human apoB mRNA in livers to 40+/−10%. Other siRNA compounds directed to apoB suitable for use in the present invention have been disclosed in US 2006/0134189. These have been described for use in combination with the SNALP (stable nucleic acid lipid particles) delivery technology. FIGS. 17-23 provide novel compositions of matter which include many of the features heretofore described for increasing cellular uptake and/or stability of siRNA for down modulating ApoB expression in target cells.
  • Conventional antisense oligos directed to gene targets such as the apoB can be converted to RNAi compounds in accordance with the present invention and used as described herein. A series of conventional antisense oligos directed to apoB and suitable for use with the present invention have been described in Merki et al., Circulation 118: 743, 2008; Crooke et al., J Lipid Res 46: 872, 2005; Kastelein et al., Circulation 114: 1729, 2006; U.S. Pat. No. 7,407,943, US 2006/0035858 and WO 2007/143315.
  • The conventional antisense oligos described in filing WO 2007/143315 are 8-16-mers. It is known that guide strands shorter than 15-mers are not active. Further 16-mer guide strands are the shortest suggested for use with the present invention. Thus, the compounds listed in this filing that are suitable for use with the present invention are limited to 16-mers or to 15-12-mers that are extended to 16-mers using the human ApoB sequence. Such 16-mers can be further lengthened by the use of overhangs which as described herein do not necessarily need to base pair with the gene target.
  • A number of treatment regimens suitable for use with such conventional antisense oligos or for use with the two-step administration described by the present invention are provided in WO 2008/118883. FIGS. 24-27 provide novel compositions of matter which include many of the features heretofore described for increasing cellular uptake and/or stability for down modulating ApoB expression in target cells. The sequence used for human ApoB is provided in GenBank, Accession No. X04714.1.
  • Atherosclerosis is a condition in which vascular smooth muscle cells are pathologically reprogrammed. Fatty material collects in the walls of arteries and there is typically chronic inflammation. This leads to a situation where the vascular wall thickens, hardens, forms plaques, which may eventually block the arteries or promote the blockage of arteries by promoting clotting. The latter becomes much more prevalent when there is a plaque rupture.
  • If the coronary arteries become narrow due to the effects of the plaque formation, blood flow to the heart can slow down or stop, causing chest pain (stable angina), shortness of breath, heart attack, and other symptoms. Pieces of plaque can break apart and move through the bloodstream. This is a common cause of heart attack and stroke. If the clot moves into the heart, lungs, or brain, it can cause a stroke, heart attack, or pulmonary embolism.
  • Risk factors for atherosclerosis include: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high-fat diet, obesity, personal or family history of heart disease and smoking. The following conditions have also been linked to atherosclerosis: cerebrovascular disease, kidney disease involving dialysis and peripheral vascular disease. Down modulation of apoB s can have a beneficial therapeutic effect for the treatment of artherosclerosis and associated pathologies. WO/2007/030556 provides an animal model for assessing the effects of apoB directed compounds on the formation of atherosclerotic lesions.
  • Example 4 Compounds for Down-Regulating PCSK9 Expression
  • Protein convertase subtilisin-like kexin type 9 (PCSK9) is a serine protease that destroys LDL receptors in liver and consequently the level of LDL in plasma. PCSK9 mutants can have gain-of-function attributes that promote certain medical disorders associated with alterations in the proportions of plasma lipids. Agents that inhibit PCSK9 function have a role to play in the treatment of such medical disorders including those listed in Table 2.
  • Frank-Kamenetsky et al. (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105: 11915, 2008) have described four siRNA compounds suitable for use in the present invention with three different sequences directed to the PCSK9 gene targets of human, mouse, rats, and nonhuman primates (and have characterized their activity in model systems. These siRNA were selected from a group of 150 by screening for activity using HepG2 cells. These compounds were formulated in lipidoid nanoparticles for in vivo testing. These compounds reduced PCSK9 expression in the livers of rats and mice by 50-70% and this was associated with up to a 60% reduction in plasma cholesterol levels. In transgenic mice carrying the human PCSK9 gene siRNA compounds were shown to reduce the levels of the transcripts of this gene in livers by >70%. In nonhuman primates after a single bolus injection of PCSK9 siRNA the negative effect on PCSK9 expression lasted 3 weeks. During this time apoB and LDL cholesterol (LDLc) levels were reduced. There were no detectable effects on HDL cholesterol or triglycerides.
  • US2008/0113930 and WO 2007/134161 disclose additional PCSK9 RNAi compounds which can be modified as disclosed herein. FIGS. 28-32 provide novel compositions of matter which include many of the features heretofore described for increasing cellular uptake and/or stability of siRNA for down modulating PCSK9 expression in target cells.
  • Conventional antisense oligos directed to the PCSK9 gene target provide another example showing how conventional antisense oligos can be reconfigured to provide novel compositions of matter suitable for use in the present invention. Such a reconfiguration is useful in situations where siRNA has advantages over conventional antisense oligos as described herein. A series of conventional antisense oligos directed to human PCSK9 and suitable for use with the present invention have been described in WO 2007/143315. The novel compositions of matter that result from the reconfiguration of these compounds in accordance with the present invention are provided in the Figures. These sequences were among the most active of those that were screened for PCSK9 inhibiting activity in vitro using the Hep3B cell line. The conventional antisense oligos described in this filing are 8-16-mers. It is known that guide strands shorter than 15-mers are not active. Further 16-mer guide strands are the shortest suggested for use with the present invention. Thus, the compounds in this filing that are suitable for use with the present invention are limited to 16-mers or to 15-12-mers that are extended to 16-mers using the PCSK9 sequence provided by Genbank accession number NM 174936.2. Such 16-mers can be further lengthened by the use of overhangs which as described herein do not necessarily need to base pair with the gene target in the case of the guide strand.
  • A number of treatment regimens suitable for use with such conventional antisense oligos or for use with the two-step administration of strands capable of forming siRNA in cells and where the guide strand is directed to PCSK9 are described in WO 2008/118883. The conventional antisense oligos in this filing are targeted to apoB but the tissues involved and the therapeutic purposes involving PCSK9 are the same and thus essentially the same treatment regimens can be used.
  • This protein plays a major regulatory role in cholesterol homeostasis. PCSK9 binds to the epidermal growth factor-like repeat A (EGF-A) domain of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR), inducing LDLR degradation. Reduced LDLR levels result in decreased metabolism of low-density lipoproteins, which could lead to hypercholesterolemia. Inhibition of PSCK9 function provides a means of lowering cholesterol levels. PCSK9 may also have a role in the differentiation of cortical neurons.
  • Further, the usefulness of conventional antisense oligos directed to the murine PCSK9 gene target for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia has been demonstrated by Graham et al. (J lipid Res 48: 763, 2007). A series of antisense oligos were screened for activity and the most active (ISIS 394814) selected for in vivo studies. Administration of ISIS 394814 to high fat fed mice for 6 weeks resulted in a 53% reduction in total plasma cholesterol and a 38% reduction in plasma LDL. This was accompanied by a 92% reduction in liver PCSK9 expression. FIGS. 33-36 provide novel compositions of matter which include many of the features heretofore described for increasing cellular uptake and/or stability for down modulating PCSK9 expression in target cells. The sequence used for human PCSK9 was NM174936.2.
  • Example 5 Compounds for Down-Regulating Phosphatase and Tensin Homolog (PTEN) Expression
  • PTEN is a phosphatase (phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate 3-phosphatase) that is frequently mutated in cancers with wild type p53 where the effect or the mutation is to inhibit its enzymatic activity. In this context, PTEN is thought to function as a tumor suppressor. In cancers with mutated p53, however, PTEN supports the viability and growth of the tumor in part by increasing the levels of gain-of-function p53 mutants (Li et al., Cancer Res 68: 1723, 2008). PTEN also modulates cell cycle regulatory proteins with the effect of inhibiting cell proliferation. Thus, PTEN inhibitors have a role in the treatment of some cancers and in promoting cell proliferation such as expanding cell populations for purposes such as transplantation.
  • In vivo regeneration of peripheral neurons is constrained and rarely complete, and unfortunately patients with major nerve trunk transections experience only limited recovery. Intracellular inhibition of neuronal growth signals may be among these constraints. Christie et al. investigated the role of PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) during regeneration of peripheral neurons in adult Sprague Dawley rats (J. Neuroscience 30:9306-9315 (2010). PTEN inhibits phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-K)/Akt signaling, a common and central outgrowth and survival pathway downstream of neuronal growth factors. While PI3-K and Akt outgrowth signals were expressed and activated within adult peripheral neurons during regeneration, PTEN was similarly expressed and poised to inhibit their support. PTEN was expressed in neuron perikaryal cytoplasm, nuclei, regenerating axons, and Schwann cells. Adult sensory neurons in vitro responded to both graded pharmacological inhibition of PTEN and its mRNA knockdown using siRNA. Both approaches were associated with robust rises in the plasticity of neurite outgrowth that were independent of the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) pathway. Importantly, this accelerated outgrowth was in addition to the increased outgrowth generated in neurons that had undergone a preconditioning lesion. Moreover, following severe nerve transection injuries, local pharmacological inhibition of PTEN or siRNA knockdown of PTEN at the injury site accelerated axon outgrowth in vivo. The findings indicated a remarkable impact on peripheral neuron plasticity through PTEN inhibition, even within a complex regenerative milieu. Overall, these findings identify a novel route to propagate intrinsic regeneration pathways within axons to benefit nerve repair. In view of these findings, it is clear that the PTEN directed compounds of the invention may be useful for the treatment of nerve injury and damage. In a preferred embodiment, such agents would be administered intrathecally as described for insulin in Toth et al., Neuroscience. (2006) 139:429-49. Czauderna et al. (Nuc Acids Res 31: 2705, 2003) have described an active siRNA compound that is directed to the human PTEN gene target which is suitable for use in accordance with the present invention as described herein. Allerson et al. (J Med Chem 48: 901, 2005) have described two siRNA compounds suitable for use in the present invention that are targeted to human PTEN. FIGS. 37-40 and FIG. 42 provide novel compositions of matter which include many of the features heretofore described for increasing cellular uptake and/or stability for down modulating PTEN expression in target cells. The sequence used for human PTEN was BC005821.2.
  • Example 6 Inhibition of PTEN Expression in HELA Cells
  • In order to demonstrate the effects of sequential administration of the compositions of the invention on down modulation of gene expression, double and single stranded oligos were transfected into cells and protein production monitored by Western Blot. While antisense to PTEN is demonstrated herein, any of the compounds disclosed herein should exhibit inhibitory effects on target gene expression. The results reveal that sequential administration of sense and antisense strands that have been modified to possess substantial nuclease resistance as single strands results in down modulation of the target gene to a degree comparable to the corresponding siRNA duplex. In addition, duplexes comprised of such stabilized individual sense and antisense strands exhibit as good or better activity than the corresponding conventional siRNA that is not comprised of strands with sufficient stability for sequential in vivo administration in accordance with the present invention.
  • The following materials and methods are provided to facilitate the practice of the present example.
  • Cells.
  • NIH3T3 cells, HELA cells and HepG2 cells were obtained from the ATCC.
  • Transfection Reagent
  • Lipofectamine 2000 transfection reagent was obtained from Invitrogen. It was used for in vitro screening of compounds for activity.
  • Sequential Transfection Protocol
  • The sense oligo (0.20 was transfected first. After a four hour incubation, the lipofectamine-oligonucleotide mixture was removed and the cells were washed 3× in culture medium. The antisense oligo (0.20 μM) was then added and incubated with cells for an additional 4 hours. Culture medium was then added and the cells incubated for 20 to 48 hours prior to harvest and preparation of lysates for ECL-Western (fluorescent) blotting. Fluorescent images were quantified on a Typhoon Trio variable mode imager. Erk2 serves as a loading control on Western blots.
  • Duplex Transfection Protocol
  • For screening purposes, duplex siRNAs directed to particular targets such as PTEN were tested at 0.05 μM, 0.20 μM, and 0.80 μM. Controls include: (i) non-silencing control ds RNAs prepared by TriLink Inc; (ii) untransfected cells. The non-silencing control (oligo 8) has the following structure:
      • Oligo 8. ds RNA/2′OMe RNA where the 2′-0-methyl containing nucleosides are underlined
  • 5′ AAUUCUCCGAACGUGUCACG 3′
    3′ UUAAG AGGCUUGCACAGUGC 5′
  • Mean values from at least 2 independent transfection experiments are determined and the error bars representing standard error of the mean (SEM) are generated. Target protein level values are shown in the histogram of FIG. 41 where each bar represents the mean protein level (the ratio of Target to Erk2) for given treatment condition after normalization to the Target protein level in the oligo 8 lysate.
  • Results
  • The data for the human PTEN compounds are shown in FIG. 41 which is based on ECL-Western blotting of PTEN after lipofectamine 2000-mediated transfection of siRNA (0.20 μM) in Hela cells as described above. The bar labeled Hela represents the PTEN levels in mock transfected cells while Oligo 8 is the non-silencing control. Five siRNA (duplexes) were tested along with the corresponding sense (S), antisense (A or AS) strands or sequentially administered sense and then antisense strands (S+A or AS). The numbers 1, 4-7 distinguish each of the five sets of compounds. All the sense and antisense stands have the same sequence. The SEQ ID NOS: for Duplex 4 are (SEQ ID NOS: 207-208) Duplex 5 (SEQ ID NOS: 209-210) Duplex 6 (SEQ ID NOS: 211-212) and Duplex 7 (SEQ ID NOS: 213-214). Duplex 1 does not have strands that have been stabilized for unprotected (for example by a carrier) individual in vivo administration in accordance with the present invention.
  • These data show that all of the four duplexes (4, 5 6 and 7) stabilized for individual strand administration in vivo had activity against PTEN as evidenced by reduced levels of expression. When the corresponding sense and antisense strands of these duplexes were sequentially administered the level of suppression for duplexes 4, 5 and 6 were as good as or slightly better than the result obtained when the duplex itself was used. In the case of duplex 7 the sequentially administered stands were suppressive compared to the non-silencing control but they were not as active as the parent duplex 7. The error bars for duplex 7 components are large and the experiment will be repeated.
  • Conclusion
  • Using the design methods of the present invention it is possible to readily generate complementary sense and antisense strands that are sufficiently nuclease resistant to effect single strand administration in vivo and at the same time be able to form a duplex within cells with their partner strand following sequential administration and thereafter have the intended suppressor activity against the target.
  • Example 7 PTP1B Down-Modulation for the Treatment of Cancer, Diabetes and Obesity
  • PTP1B, a non-transmembrane protein tyrosine phosphatase that has long been studied as a negative regulator of insulin and leptin signaling, has received renewed attention as an unexpected positive factor in tumorigenesis. These dual characteristics make PTP a particularly attractive therapeutic target for diabetes, obesity, and perhaps breast cancer.
  • In the case of insulin signaling, PTP dephosphorylates the insulin receptor (IR) as well as its primary substrates, the IRS proteins; by contrast, in leptin signaling a downstream element, the tyrosine kinase JAK2 (Janus kinase 2), is the primary target for dephosphorylation. However, hints that PTP1B might also play a positive signaling role in cell proliferation began to emerge a few years ago, with the finding by a number of groups that PTP1B dephosphorylates the inhibitory Y529 site in Src, thereby activating this kinase. Other PTP1B substrates might also contribute to pro-growth effects. Indeed, the idea that PTP can serve as a signaling stimulant in some cases received key confirmation in previous work that showed PTP1B plays a positive role in a mouse model of ErbB2-induced breast cancer. See Yip et al. Trends in Biochemical Sciences 35:442-449 (2010). For these reasons, PTP has attracted particular attention as a potential therapeutic target in obesity, diabetes, and now, cancer.
  • Accordingly, the compounds directed at PTP can be used to advantage for the treatment of such disorders.
  • While certain of the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described and specifically exemplified above, it is not intended that the invention be limited to such embodiments. Various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention, as set forth in the following claims.

Claims (17)

  1. 1-65. (canceled)
  2. 66. A formulation which inhibits expression and/or function of at least one target ribonucleic acid of interest in a cell within a subject comprising;
    a) a first composition comprising a first nucleic acid strand in a pharmaceutically acceptable vehicle for in vivo administration, said strand comprising modifications effective to promote stability and activity of said first strand in target tissue in vivo;
    b) a second composition comprising a second nucleic acid strand in a pharmaceutically acceptable vehicle, said strand comprising modifications effective to promote stability and activity of said second strand in target tissue vivo;
    wherein said compositions lack a pro-drug design or a carrier and at least one strand is complementary to the target ribonucleic acid of interest with no more than 4 mismatches with the target and comprising at least 14 contiguous-complementary nucleosides in the central region, the strands of a) and b) being complementary, capable of duplex formation, and between 16 and 24 nucleotides in length;
    wherein said modifications are effective to
    i) increase the nuclease resistance of said strands in vivo to a half life greater than two hours in biological fluids; and
    ii) alter the Tm of the duplex
    wherein following sequential administration of said first and second strands in vivo, said strands exhibit increased inhibition of expression of said target ribonucleic acid sequence within said cell in a subject when compared to inhibition obtained using
    iii) formulations comprising duplexes of the strands of a) and b); or
    iv) formulations comprising one of the single strands of a) or b) or
    v) formulations comprising a double stranded siRNA directed to the same gene target
    wherein the formulations of iii, iv, and v lack said modifications.
  3. 67. The formulation of claim 66, wherein said strands comprise at least one modified backbone linkage selected from the group consisting of phosphorothioate linkages, methylphosphonate linkages, ethylphosphonate linkages, boranophosphate linkages, sulfonamide, carbonylamide, phosphorodiamidate, phosphorodiamidate linkages comprising a positively charged side group, phosphorodithioates, aminoethylglycine, phosphotriesters, aminoalkylphosphotriesters; 3′-alkylene phosphonates; 5′-alkylene phosphonates, chiral phosphonates, phosphinates, 3′-amino phosphoramidate, aminoalkylphosphoramidates, thionophosphoramidates; thionoalkyl-phosphonates, thionoalkylphosphotriesters, selenophosphates, 2-5′ linked boranophosphonate analogs, linkages having inverted polarity, abasic linkages, short chain alkyl linkages, cycloalkyl internucleoside linkages, mixed heteroatom and alkyl or cycloalkyl internucleoside linkages, short chain heteroatomic or heterocyclic internucleoside linkages with siloxane backbones, sulfide, sulfoxide, sulfone, formacetyl linkages, thioformacetyl linkages, methylene formacetyl linkages, thioformacetyl linkages, riboacetyl linkages, alkene linkages, sulfamate backbones, methyleneimino linkages, methylenehydrazino linkages, sulfonate linkages, and amide linkages.
  4. 68. The formulation of claim 66, wherein said strands comprise at least one modified sugar selected from the group consisting of 2′ fluoro, 2′-fluoro-D-arabinonucleic acid (FANA), 2′-O-methoxyethyl, 2′-O-methyl, a morpholino, a piperazine, and a locked nucleic acid (LNA).
  5. 69. The formulation of claim 68, wherein said strands have alternating 2′-O-methyl modification and 2′fluoro modification.
  6. 70. The formulation of claim 68 wherein said strands have a mixture of phosphodiester and phosphorothioate backbone linkages.
  7. 71. The formulation of claim 66, wherein said strands, when hybridized, comprise one or two 3′ overhangs, a 5′ overhang or a 3′ and 5′ overhang.
  8. 72. The formulation of claim 66, wherein said strands form a blunt ended duplex.
  9. 73. The formulation of claim 66, wherein one of said strands is a passenger strand which lacks a central linkage such that it occurs as two continuous oligos which hybridize with the complementary strand.
  10. 74-103. (canceled)
  11. 104. An in vitro method of identifying a formulation having an improved RNAi effect in vivo against a target gene, said method comprising;
    (i) obtaining a first and a second oligonucleotide sequence capable of forming a duplex;
    (ii) adapting said first and/or said second oligonucleotide sequence to increase its nuclease resistance in vivo;
    (iii) contacting said first oligonucleotide sequence with a cell expressing the target gene in vitro;
    (iv) following step (iii) contacting said second oligonucleotide sequence with said cell of iii) and;
    (v) determining whether the adaptations of step ii) enhance the RNAi effect of said formulation against said target gene as compared to the RNAi effect of the formulation on expression of the target gene without said adaptations, thereby identifying adaptations that enhance said RNAi effect.
  12. 105. An in vitro method according to claim 104 wherein said first oligonucleotide is truncated with respect to the second oligonucleotide.
  13. 106. An in vitro method according to claim 104 which are designed to create an overhang at one or both 3′ and/or a 5′ end when the duplex is formed intracellularly.
  14. 107. An in vitro method according to claim 104 wherein two or more first oligonucleotides are provided as a contiguous sequence.
  15. 108. An in vitro method according to claim 104 wherein said strands are selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS: 119 to 377.
  16. 109. A method for the treatment of a disorder listed in Table 2, comprising administration of at least one oligonucleotide selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOS: 119-377.
  17. 110-113. (canceled)
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US7790691B2 (en) * 2003-06-20 2010-09-07 Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Double stranded compositions comprising a 3′-endo modified strand for use in gene modulation
US20070066549A1 (en) * 2003-09-18 2007-03-22 Freier Susan M Modulation of elf4e expression

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