Caister Academic Press

CIMB Abstract

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. (1999) 1: 111-116.

Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) Antisense Effects in Escherichia coli

Liam Good and Peter E. Nielsen

Antisense peptide nucleic acid (PNA) can be used to control cell growth, gene expression and growth phenotypes in the bacteria Escherichia coli . PNAs targeted to the RNA components of the ribosome can inhibit translation and cell growth, and PNAs targeted to mRNA can limit gene expression with gene and sequence specificity. In an E. coli cell extract, efficient inhibition is observed when using PNA concentrations in the nanomolar range, whereas micromolar concentrations are required for inhibition in growing cells. A mutant strain of E. coli that is more permeable to antibiotics also is more susceptible to antisense PNAs than the wild type. This chapter details methods for testing the antisense activities of PNA in E. coli. As an example of the specific antisense inhibition possible, we show the effects of an anti- ß-galactosidase PNA in comparison to control PNAs. With improvements in cell uptake, antisense PNAs may find applications as antimicrobial agents and as tools for microbial functional genomics.

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