Sequence and chemistry requirements for a novel aptameric oligonucleotide inhibitor of EGF receptor tyrosine kinase activity

Saghir Akhtar*, Debbie Dunnion, David Poyner, John Ackroyd, Mike Bibby, John Double

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have previously identified a phosphorothioate oligonucleotide (PS-ODN) that inhibited epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase (TK) activity both in cell fractions and in intact A431 cells. Since ODN-based TK inhibitors may have anti-cancer applications and may also help understand the non-antisense mediated effects of PS-ODNs, we have further studied the sequence and chemistry requirements of the parent PS-ODN (sequence: 5′-GGA GGG TCG CAT CGC-3′) as a sequence-dependent TK inhibitor. Sequence deletion and substitution studies revealed that the 5′-terminal GGA GGG hexamer sequence in the parent compound was essential for anti-TK activity in A431 cells. Site-specific substitution of any G with a T in this 5′-terminal motif within the parent compound caused a significant loss in anti-TK activity. The fully PS-modified hexameric motif alone exhibited equipotent activity as the parent 15-mer whereas phosphodiester (PO) or 2′-O-methyl-modified versions of this motif had significantly reduced anti-TK activity. Further, T substitutions within the two 5′-terminal G residues of the hexameric PS-ODN to produce a sequence, TTA GGG, representing the telomeric repeats in human chromosomes, also did not exhibit a significant anti-TK activity. Multiple repeats of the active hexameric motif in PS-ODNs resulted in more potent inhibitors of TK activity than the parent ODN. These results suggested that PS-ODNs, but not PO or 2′-O-methyl modified ODNs, containing the GGA GGG motif can exert potent anti-TK activity which may be desirable in some anti-tumor applications. Additionally, the presence of this previously unidentified motif in antisense PS-ODN constructs may contribute to their biological effects in vitro and in vivo and should be accounted for in the design of the PS-modified antisense ODNs. © 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2187-2195
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2002


  • antisense oligodeoxynucleotide
  • aptamer
  • phosphorothioate
  • receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor


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