Targeted inhibition of WRN helicase by external guide sequence and RNase P RNA

June 30, 2016

Human WRN, a RecQ helicase encoded by the Werner syndrome gene, is implicated in genome maintenance, including replication, recombination, excision repair and DNA damage response. These genetic processes and expression of WRN are concomitantly upregulated in many types of cancers. Therefore, targeted destruction of this helicase could be useful for elimination of cancer cells. Here, we provide a proof of concept for applying the external guide sequence (EGS) approach in directing an RNase P RNA to efficiently cleave the WRN mRNA in cultured human cell lines, thus abolishing translation and activity of this distinctive 3'-5' DNA helicase-nuclease. Remarkably, EGS-directed knockdown of WRN leads to severe inhibition of cell viability. Hence, further assessment of this targeting system could be beneficial for selective cancer therapies, particularly in the light of the recent improvements introduced into EGSs.

Hitrik, A and Abboud, G

Journal: biochimica et Biophysica Acta

Original article