Alternative splicing is a near-ubiquitous phenomenon with important roles in human diseases, including cancers. Splice-switching oligonucleotides (SSOs) have emerged as a class of antisense therapeutics that modulate alternative splicing by hybridizing to the pre-mRNA splice site. The
Bcl-x gene is alternatively spliced to express antiapoptotic Bcl-xL and pro-apoptotic Bcl-xS. Bcl-xL expression is upregulated in many cancers and is considered a general mechanism by which cancer cells evade apoptosis. By redirecting Bcl-x pre-mRNA splicing from Bcl-xL to Bcl-xS, SSO exerted
pro-apoptotic and chemosensitizing effects in various cancer cell lines. In this study, we investigated the effects of SSO targeting Bcl-x pre-mRNA in human glioma cell lines. First, we performed reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and western blotting to determine the
mRNA and protein expression levels of Bcl-xL in glioma cell lines (U87 and U251) and a normal human astrocyte cell line (HA1800). Then, the Bcl-x SSO was designed to bind to the downstream 5' alternative splice site of exon 2 in Bcl-x pre-mRNA and was modified using 2'-O-methoxyethyl-phosphorothioate.
An oligonucleotide targeting aberrantly spliced human β-globin intron was used as a negative control. The SSOs were delivered with a cationic lipid into glioma and astrocyte cell lines. The antitumor effects of the SSOs were assessed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium
bromide assays and flow cytometry, and the switch in production from Bcl-xL to Bcl-xS was analyzed by RT-PCR and western blotting. Bcl-xL mRNA and protein were highly expressed in both glioma cell lines. The Bcl-x SSO modified Bcl-x pre-mRNA splicing and had pro-apoptotic effects on the glioma
cell lines. By contrast, the lipid alone and the control SSO did not affect Bcl-xL expression or induce apoptosis. Our study demonstrated the antitumor activity of an SSO that targets Bcl-x pre-mRNA splicing in glioma cell lines. Bcl-x SSO may be a potential strategy for treating gliomas.
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Document Type: Research Article
Department of Neurosurgery, China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130031, P.R. China
Department of Neurosurgery, Heilongjiang Provincial Hospital, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150036, P.R. China
Department of Cell Biology, College of Life Science, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310053, P.R. China
Publication date: February 1, 2016
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