Associate 2019, General Biology
Inaugural Lectures by Fellows/Associates
Self-Assembled Branched DNA Nanostructure as Cancer Therapeutics
Recent studies have designed inhibitor molecules that can silence one type of cancer-triggering miRNA. However, such molecules cannot suppress cancers caused by multiple miRNAs. Nevertheless, recent evidences suggest that multiple miRNAs cooperatively regulate the expression of a single gene and a single miRNA often targets a number of genes and its regulatory effect is tissue specific. To find an inhibitor molecule that can arrest cancer progression by blocking the activities of multiple miRNAs, the speaker and group prepared branched DNA nanostructures through biomolecular self-assembly process. The antimiR-bDNA nanomaterials can selectively bind to specific oncogenic miRNAs (miRNA 27a, 96 and 182) that trigger breast cancer by silencing FOXO1a, a tumour-suppressor gene that encodes FOXO1a protein. This protein regulates glucose metabolism and other vital biological processes, but its levels are reduced in cancer cells. In cell culture, the bDNA nanostructures retained their stability even after 36 hours and restored the levels of FOXO1a protein, inhibiting the activities of specific miRNAs that are known to initiate the unbridled growth of the cancer cells. Being biocompatible and easily modifiable, the bDNA nanomaterials are potential candidates for developing safe cancer nanotherapeutics.