In vivo uptake of antisense oligonucleotide drugs predicted by ab initio quantum mechanical calculations

Henrik Frydenlund Hansen, Nanna Albaek, Bo Rode Hansen, Irene Shim, Henrik Bohr*, Troels Koch

*Corresponding author for this work

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Liver and kidney uptake and antisense activity is studied for a series of Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) oligonucleotides with fully stereo-defined, internucleoside linkages. These stereo-specific phosphorothioates are made with a newly developed synthesis method and are being analyzed both theoretically and experimentally. Their structures are obtained theoretically by using many-body Schrödinger equations applied to a group of 11 stereo-defined LNA antisense oligonucleotides selected for biological experiments. The fully converged electronic structures were obtained from ab initio quantum calculations providing the specific electronic structures. One important result was the observation that the calculated electronic structure, represented by the iso-surface area of the electron density in Å2, correlated linearly with LNA oligonucleotide uptake in the liver and kidney. This study also shows that more complex biological phenomena, such as drug activity, will require more molecular and cellular identifiers than used here before a correlation can be found. Establishing biological correlations between quantum mechanical (QM) calculated structures and antisense oligonucleotides is novel, and this method may constitute new tools in drug discovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6321
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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