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Four RNAi-Related Patent Applications Published by the US Patent Office


Title: Characterization of Gene Function Using Double-Stranded RNA Inhibition. Number: 20040133943. Filed: Dec. 17, 2003. Lead Inventor: Geert Plaetinck, DevGen.

The invention comprises “a method of identifying DNA responsible for conferring a particular phenotype in a cell … [by] constructing a cDNA or genomic library of the DNA … in a suitable vector [and] in an orientation relative to a promoter capable of initiating transcription of said cDNA or DNA to double-stranded RNA upon [the] binding of an appropriate transcription factor to [the] promoter,” according to the patent application’s abstract.

The library is then introduced into one or more cells “comprising said transcription factor,” and a particular phenotype of the cell is identified and isolated, along with the DNA or cDNA fragment from the library that is responsible for the phenotype, the abstract adds. “Using this technique it is also possible to assign function to a known DNA sequence by … identifying a [homolog] of said DNA sequence in a cell; … isolating the relevant DNA [homolog] or a fragment thereof from said cell; … cloning said homologue or fragment thereof into an appropriate vector in an orientation relative to a suitable [promoter] capable of initiating transcription of dsRNA from said DNA homologue or fragment upon binding of an appropriate transcription factor to said [promoter] and; … introducing said vector into said cell from [the first] step comprising said transcription factor,” it states.

Title: Oligonucleotide-Mediated Inhibition of Hepatitis B Virus and Hepatitis C Virus Replication. Number: 2000127446. Filed: Sept. 23, 2003. Lead Inventor: Lawrence Blatt, Sirna Therapeutics.

The patent application relates to “nucleic acid molecules — including antisense and enzymatic nucleic acid molecules, such as hammerhead ribozymes, DNAzymes, Inozymes, Zinzymes, Amberymes, and G-cleaver ribozymes — [that] modulate the synthesis, expression, and/or stability of an HCV or HBV RNA, [as well as] methods for their use alone or in combination with other therapies,” its abstract states.

Also disclosed by the patent application are: nucleic acid decoy molecules and aptamers that bind to HBV reverse transcriptase and/or HBV reverse transcriptase primer sequences, and methods of their use; oligonucleotides that specifically bind the Enhancer I region of HBV DNA; the use of nucleic acids, such as the decoy and aptamer molecules aforementioned, to modulate the expression of HBV genes and HBV replication; and HBV animal models and methods of their use.”

The abstract adds that the invention “also relates to compounds, including enzymatic nucleic acid molecules, ribozymes, DNAzymes, nuclease activating compounds, and chimeras such as 2’, 5’-adenylates, that modulate the expression and/or replication of hepatitis C.”

Title: Enhancing Intermolecular Integration of Nucleic Acids Using Integrator Complexes. Number: 20040126887. Filed: Nov. 8, 2002. Lead Inventor: Christine Wooddell, Mirus.

The invention comprises “compositions and processes for enhancing transposon-mediated integration of a nucleic acid molecule into another target nucleic acid molecule,” the patent application’s abstract states. “Integration by an integrator complex is enhanced by cationic reagents.”

Title: Strategies for Gene Expression Analysis. Number: 20040132050. Filed: July 16, 2003. Lead Inventor: Joseph Monforte, Althea Technologies.

The invention, the patent application’s abstract states, “provides methods for screening compound or chemical libraries by analyzing expressed RNA samples from biological samples treated with members of a compound library in a high-throughput format.”

The application states that these methods apply to a variety of libraries including an interfering RNA library and an siRNA library.


The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.