Technologies capable of programmable translation activation offer strategies to develop therapeutics for diseases caused by insufficient gene expression. Here, we present “translation-activating RNAs” (taRNAs), a bifunctional RNA-based molecular technology that binds to a specific mRNA of interest and directly upregulates its translation. taRNAs are constructed from a variety of viral or mammalian RNA internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) and upregulate translation for a suite of target mRNAs. We minimize the taRNA scaffold to 94 nucleotides, identify two translation initiation factor proteins responsible for taRNA activity, and validate the technology by amplifying SYNGAP1 expression, a haploinsufficiency disease target, in patient-derived cells. Finally, taRNAs are suitable for delivery as RNA molecules by lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) to cell lines, primary neurons, and mouse liver in vivo. taRNAs provide a general and compact nucleic acid-based technology to upregulate protein production from endogenous mRNAs, and may open up possibilities for therapeutic RNA research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Physics and Astronomy
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology