Scientific reports

Human cellular CYBA UTR sequences increase mRNA translation without affecting the half-life of recombinant RNA transcripts.

PMID 27974853


Modified nucleotide chemistries that increase the half-life (T1/2) of transfected recombinant mRNA and the use of non-native 5'- and 3'-untranslated region (UTR) sequences that enhance protein translation are advancing the prospects of transcript therapy. To this end, a set of UTR sequences that are present in mRNAs with long cellular T1/2 were synthesized and cloned as five different recombinant sequence set combinations as upstream 5'-UTR and/or downstream 3'-UTR regions flanking a reporter gene. Initial screening in two different cell systems in vitro revealed that cytochrome b-245 alpha chain (CYBA) combinations performed the best among all other UTR combinations and were characterized in detail. The presence or absence of CYBA UTRs had no impact on the mRNA stability of transfected mRNAs, but appeared to enhance the productivity of transfected transcripts based on the measurement of mRNA and protein levels in cells. When CYBA UTRs were fused to human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (hBMP2) coding sequence, the recombinant mRNA transcripts upon transfection produced higher levels of protein as compared to control transcripts. Moreover, transfection of human adipose mesenchymal stem cells with recombinant hBMP2-CYBA UTR transcripts induced bone differentiation demonstrating the osteogenic and therapeutic potential for transcript therapy based on hybrid UTR designs.