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Managing MicroRNAs with Vector-Encoded Decoy-Type Inhibitors

A rapidly growing understanding of the complex circuitry of microRNA (miRNA)-mediated gene regulation is attracting attention to miRNAs as new drug targets. Targeted miRNA suppression is achieved in a sequence-specific manner by antisense RNA “decoy” molecules. Such synthetic miRNA inhibitors have reached the clinic with remarkable pace and may soon appear as new therapeutic modalities in several diseases. Shortcomings, however, include high production costs, the requirement for repeated administration, and difficulty achieving tissue-specific delivery. With the many recent landmark achievements in clinical gene therapy, new and refined vector-encoded miRNA suppression technologies are attractive for many applications, not least as tools in innumerable daily studies of miRNA biology in laboratories worldwide. Here, we provide an overview of the strategies that have been used to adapt vector-encoded inhibitors for miRNA suppression and discuss advantages related to spatiotemporal and long-term miRNA attenuation. With the remarkable new discovery of miRNA management by naturally occurring circular RNAs, RNA circles generated by trans-splicing mechanisms may prove to be well-suited carriers of decoy-type miRNA inhibitors. The community will aspire to combine circles with high-affinity miRNA decoy methodologies, and such “vectorized” RNA circles may represent new solid ways to deliver miRNA inhibitors, perhaps even with therapeutic applications.

Refer to Molecular Therapy (2013); 21 8, 1478–1485. doi:10.1038/mt.2013.113

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