miRNA therapeutics: delivery and biological activity of peptide nucleic acids targeting miRNAs

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Peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) are DNA/RNA mimics extensively used for pharmacological regulation of gene expression in a variety of cellular and molecular systems, and they have been described as excellent candidates for antisense and antigene therapies. At present, very few data are available on the use of PNAs as molecules targeting miRNAs. miRNAs are a family of small nc RNAs that regulate gene expression by sequence-selective targeting of mRNAs, leading to a translational repression or mRNA degradation to the control of highly regulated biological functions, such as differentiation, cell cycle and apoptosis. The aim of this article is to present the state-of-the-art concerning the possible use of PNAs to target miRNAs and modify their biological metabolism within the cells. The results present in the literature allow to propose PNA-based molecules as very promising reagents to modulate the biological activity of miRNAs. In consideration of the involvement of miRNAs in human pathologies, PNA-mediated targeting of miRNAs has been proposed as a potential novel therapeutic approach.

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