Two G-quadruplex forming oligonucleotides [d(TG4T)4 and d(TG6T)4] were selected as two tetramolecular quadruplex nanostructures because of their demonstrated ability to be modified with hydrophobic molecules. This allowed us to synthesize two series of G-quadruplex conjugates that differed in the number of G-tetrads, as well as in the terminal position of the lipid modification. Both solution and solid-phase syntheses were carried out to yield the corresponding lipid oligonucleotide conjugates modified at their 3'- and 5'-termini, respectively. Biophysical studies confirmed that the presence of saturated alkyl chains with different lengths did not affect the G-quadruplex integrity, but increased the stability. Next, the G-quadruplex domain was added to an 18-mer antisense oligonucleotide. Gene silencing studies confirmed the ability of such G-rich oligonucleotides to facilitate the inhibition of target Renilla luciferase without showing signs of toxicity in tumor cell lines.
Keywords: G-quadruplex; antisense oligonucleotides; circular dichroism; gene delivery; gene transfection; lipids; luciferase; nucleic acid conjugates; solid-phase; solution-phase.