Nucleic acid based technology (antisense, ribozyme, DNA enzyme, RNAi) has made huge advances in the last few years and generated considerable expectations especially in the neurosciences. As a frontier method, these new technologies may be used to combat diseases, as well as to study gene functions by interfering in the genetic flow of information from DNA to RNA to protein. In the following article I will describe antisense techniques, starting with the chemical nature of the antisense oligodeoxynucleotides and some of the most commonly used derivatives. I will then give some guidelines on antisense, ribozyme, DNA enzyme and RNAi construction, modifications and application. This will be followed by discussion of the possible mode of action as well as expansion of the oligo-based technique to ribozyme, DNA enzyme morpholino and anti-RNA mediated gene inhibition. Finally, I will describe some common problems that may be encountered during these applications and some experimental examples.
Keywords: neurosciences, antisense, ribozyme, dna enzyme, rnai, morpholinos, peptide nucleic acid, locked nucleic acid
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