Palmitic acid-conjugated 21-nucleotide siRNA enhances gene-silencing activity

Takanori Kubo, Kazuyoshi Yanagihara, Yoshifumi Takei, Keichiro Mihara, Yasuhiro Morita, Toshio Seyama

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Short interfering RNA (siRNA) technology is a powerful tool for suppressing gene expression in mammalian cells. In this study, we focused on the development of siRNAs conjugated with palmitic acid at the 5′-end of the sense strand (C16-siRNAs) using our novel synthesis strategy in order to improve the potency of siRNA. The C16-siRNAs exhibited enhanced nuclease stability. In addition, they showed potent gene-silencing efficacy against exogenous Renilla luciferase in HeLa cells compared with a nonmodified siRNA in the presence of Lipofectamine 2000. The C16-siRNAs also had a more potent inhibitory effect on Renilla luciferase activity than the other siRNA conjugated with lipids at the 5′-end and the 3′-end by palmitoyl conjugation. For further improvement, the gene silencing potency of the C16-siRNAs against the endogenous vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene in HeLa cells was investigated. In this investigation, the siRNAs were prepared not only with the normal RNA sequence but also coupled with an inverted thymidine (idT) at the 3′-ends of both the sense and antisense strands (siRNA-idT), including palmitic acid conjugations at the 5′-end of the sense strand, to improve stability. The C16-siRNA including idT modifications exhibited a significantly greater inhibitory effect on the VEGF gene in the presence of Lipofectamine 2000. It is noteworthy that C16-siRNA-idT demonstrated long-term gene-silencing efficacy of up to 5 days. Interestingly, the C16-siRNAs, including that with idT modifications, exhibited strong RNAi potency in the absence of any transfection reagents, although only at high concentrations. Both the C16-siRNAs and C16-siRNA-idT induced a high level of membrane permeability in HeLa cells. Our developed C16-siRNAs, particularly C16-siRNA-idT, are thus among the promising candidates for a new generation of modified siRNAs that can solve the many problems associated with siRNA technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2193-2203
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 05-12-2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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