Nucleic acids research

TCP1 complex proteins interact with phosphorothioate oligonucleotides and can co-localize in oligonucleotide-induced nuclear bodies in mammalian cells.

PMID 24861627


Phosphorothioate (PS) antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) have been successfully developed as drugs to reduce the expression of disease-causing genes. PS-ASOs can be designed to induce degradation of complementary RNAs via the RNase H pathway and much is understood about that process. However, interactions of PS-ASOs with other cellular proteins are not well characterized. Here we report that in cells transfected with PS-ASOs, the chaperonin T-complex 1 (TCP1) proteins interact with PS-ASOs and enhance antisense activity. The TCP1-β subunit co-localizes with PS-ASOs in distinct nuclear structures, termed phosphorothioate bodies or PS-bodies. Upon Ras-related nuclear protein (RAN) depletion, cytoplasmic PS-body-like structures were observed and nuclear concentrations of PS-ASOs were reduced, suggesting that TCP1-β can interact with PS-ASOs in the cytoplasm and that the nuclear import of PS-ASOs is at least partially through the RAN-mediated pathway. Upon free uptake, PS-ASOs co-localize with TCP1 proteins in cytoplasmic foci related to endosomes/lysosomes. Together, our results indicate that the TCP1 complex binds oligonucleotides with TCP1-β subunit being a nuclear PS-body component and suggest that the TCP1 complex may facilitate PS-ASO uptake and/or release from the endocytosis pathway.