Modification of hepatic genomic DNA using RNA/DNA oligonucleotides

Gene Ther. 2002 Jun;9(11):686-90. doi: 10.1038/


The ideal gene therapy is one that repairs the precise genetic defect without additional modification of the genome. Such a strategy has been developed for correcting single nucleotide mutations by using RNA/DNA oligonucleotides, or chimeraplasts. This approach for in situ repair is based on the delivery of exogenous DNA designed to mediate genomic base conversion, insertion, or deletion, thereby, correcting the genetic mutation. Using in vivo delivery systems to hepatocytes via the asialoglycoprotein receptor, we targeted rat liver DNA and successfully modified the genomic sequence by chimeraplasty. The changes in both the hepatic genes, and their associated phenotypes remained stable for 2 years. In addition, we also examined the potential to alter sequence defects in mitochondrial DNA. Therefore, we determined whether mitochondria possess the enzymatic machinery for chimeraplast-mediated DNA changes. Using an in vitro DNA repair assay of mutagenized plasmids and an Escherichia coli readout system, we showed that extracts from highly purified rat liver mitochondria have the essential enzymatic activity to mediate precise single-nucleotide changes at a frequency similar to liver nuclear extracts. Moreover, single-stranded oligonucleotides carrying a single nucleotide mismatch with the target sequence were capable of promoting gene conversion using either mitochondrial or nuclear extracts. Several approaches now exist for the precise repair of genetic mutations using either single-stranded or RNA/DNA chimeric oligonucleotides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bilirubin / biosynthesis*
  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genome*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria, Liver / enzymology
  • Mitochondria, Liver / genetics
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Oligonucleotides / administration & dosage
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / administration & dosage


  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Bilirubin