Browse Penn-owned technologies available for licensing.
Researchers in the Dmochowski Lab have created caged antisense hairpin molecules of DNA that bind to genes and are released upon activation with ultraviolet or infrared light. In order to exert this spatiotemporal control of mRNA degradation, the DNA antisense oligonucleotide is modified by attaching a short piece of the complementary sense strand via a photocleavable blocking group. The DNA oligo is prevented from binding to the target mRNA molecule until the blocking strand is released upon photo-activation.
By altering protein expression within a cell and at particular times, a specific gene can be turned on or off to elucidate the role of the gene being studied. This approach was used to regulate two genes in zebrafish embryos, with controlled protein expression throughout the embryo. In another study, photoactivatable antisense oligodeoxynucleotides were demonstrated to downregulate the cancer-related gene c-myb in human K562 leukemia cells.