Down-modulation of cancer targets using locked nucleic acid (LNA)-based antisense oligonucleotides without transfection

Gene Ther. 2011 Apr;18(4):326-33. doi: 10.1038/gt.2010.133. Epub 2010 Dec 23.


Usually, small interfering RNAs and most antisense molecules need mechanical or chemical delivery methods to down-modulate the targeted mRNA. However, these delivery approaches complicate the interpretations of biological consequences. We show that locked nucleic acid (LNA)-based antisense oligonucleotides (LNA-ONs) readily down-modulate genes of interest in multiple cell lines without any delivery means. The down-modulation of genes was quick, robust, long-lasting and specific followed by potent down-modulation of protein. The efficiency of the effect varied among the 30 tumor cell lines investigated. The most robust effects were found in those cells where nuclear localization of the LNA-ON was clearly observed. Importantly, without using any delivery agent, we demonstrated that HER3 mRNA and protein could be efficiently down-modulated in cells and a tumor xenograft model. These data provide a simple and efficient approach to identify potential drug targets and animal models. Further elucidation of the mechanism of cellular uptake and trafficking of LNA-ONs may enhance not only the therapeutic values of this platform but also antisense molecules in general.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Gene Targeting
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology*
  • Receptor, ErbB-3 / genetics
  • Transfection


  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Receptor, ErbB-3