A status update of modified oligonucleotides for chemotherapeutics applications.
- Yogesh S Sanghvi
- Current protocols in nucleic acid chemistry
Oligonucleotides are usually prepared in lab scale on a solid support with the aid of a fully automated synthesizer. Scaling up of the equipment has allowed industrial synthesis up to kilogram scale. In spite of this, solution-phase synthesis has received continuous interest, on one hand as a technique that could enable synthesis of even larger amounts and, on the other hand, as a gram scale laboratory synthesis without any special equipment. The synthesis on a soluble support has been regarded as an approach that could combine the advantageous features of both the solution and solid-phase syntheses. The critical step of this approach is the separation of the support-anchored oligonucleotide chain from the monomeric building block and other small molecular reagents and byproducts after each coupling, oxidation and deprotection step. The techniques applied so far include precipitation, extraction, chromatography and nanofiltration. As regards coupling, all conventional chemistries, viz. phosphoramidite, H-phosphonate and phosphotriester strategies, have been attempted. While P(III)-based phosphoramidite and H-phosphonate chemistries are almost exclusively used on a solid support, the "outdated" P(V)-based phosphotriester chemistry still offers one major advantage for the synthesis on a soluble support; the omission of the oxidation step simplifies the coupling cycle. Several of protocols developed for the soluble-supported synthesis allow the preparation of both DNA and RNA oligomers of limited length in gram scale without any special equipment, being evidently of interest for research groups that need oligonucleotides in large amounts for research purposes. However, none of them has really tested at such a scale that the feasibility of their industrial use could be critically judged.