Determination of the role of the human RNase H1 in the pharmacology of DNA-like antisense drugs

J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 23;279(17):17181-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M311683200. Epub 2004 Feb 11.


Although ribonuclease H activity has long been implicated as a molecular mechanism by which DNA-like oligonucleotides induce degradation of target RNAs, definitive proof that one or more RNase H is responsible is lacking. To date, two RNase H enzymes (H1 and H2) have been cloned and shown to be expressed in human cells and tissues. To determine the role of RNase H1 in the mechanism of action of DNA-like antisense drugs, we varied the levels of the enzyme in human cells and mouse liver and determined the correlation of those levels with the effects of a number of DNA-like antisense drugs. Our results demonstrate that in human cells RNase H1 is responsible for most of the activity of DNA-like antisense drugs. Further, we show that there are several additional previously undescribed RNases H in human cells that may participate in the effects of DNA-like antisense oligonucleotides.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Magnesium / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology*
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Ribonuclease H / chemistry*
  • Ribonuclease H / metabolism
  • Ribonuclease H / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Peptides
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • DNA
  • ribonuclease HII
  • Ribonuclease H
  • ribonuclease HI
  • Magnesium