Transcription factor decoy technology: A therapeutic update
Targeting transcription factors represents one possibility to interfere with a known activated regulatory pathway that promotes disease. Double-stranded transcription factor decoy (TFD) oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) are therapeutic drug candidates, which are able to specifically target and neutralize key transcription factors involved in the pathogenesis of a given disease. These short double-stranded TFD molecules mimic the consensus DNA binding site of a specific transcription factor in the promoter region of its target genes. Therefore, it is possible to exploit this nucleic acid-based drug class for the treatment of diseases caused by aberrant expression of such target genes the products of which are involved in disease initiation and progression.
This research update focuses firstly on the mechanism of action of TFD molecules. Long-term effects of such ODNs depend on their stability and the efficiency by which they are delivered to the target tissue and taken up by their target cells. Hence structural modifications like e.g., single-stranded TFD molecules hybridising to itself to form an intramolecular hairpin molecule or circular ODNs assuming a dumbbell configuration, intended to enhance both stability and efficacy, are addressed. Also specific drug delivery methods like ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction with TFD ODN-coated microbubbles or adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors for tissue-specific transduction and long-term TFD molecule expression in non-dividing cells will be discussed. Finally, current therapeutic applications of TFD ODN will be summarized.