Bioorg Med Chem. 2020 Apr 1;28(7):115394. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2020.115394. Epub 2020 Feb 18
miRNAs are key regulators of various biological processes. Dysregulation of miRNA is linked to many diseases. Development of miRNA inhibitor has implication in disease therapy and study of miRNA function. The biogenesis pathway of miRNA involves the processing of pre-miRNA into mature miRNA by Dicer enzyme. We previously reported a proximity enabled approach that employs bifunctional small molecules to regulate miRNA maturation through inhibiting the enzymatic activity of Dicer. By conjugating to an RNA targeting unit, an RNase inhibitor could be delivered to the cleavage site of specific pre-miRNA to deactivate the complexed Dicer enzyme. Herein, we expanded this bifunctional strategy by showing that antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), including morpholinos and γPNAs, could be readily used as the RNA recognition unit to generate bifunctional small molecule-oligonucleotide hybrids as miRNA inhibitors. A systematic comparison revealed that the potency of these hybrids is mainly determined by the RNA binding of the targeting ASO molecules. Since the lengths of the ASO molecules used in this approach were much shorter than commonly used anti-miRNA ASOs, this may provide benefits to the specificity and cellular delivery of these hybrids. We expect that this approach could be complementary to traditional ASO and small molecule based miRNA inhibition and contribute to the study of miRNA.