AGO-accessible anticancer siRNAs designed with synergistic miRNA-like activity

Dowoon Gu, Seung Hyun Ahn, Sangkyeong Eom, Hye Sook Lee, Juyoung Ham, Dong Ha Lee, You Kyung Cho, Yongjun Koh, Elizaveta Ignatova, Eun Sook Jang, Sung Wook Chi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) therapeutically induce RNA interference (RNAi) of disease-causing genes, but they also silence hundreds of seed-matched off-targets as behaving similar to microRNAs (miRNAs). miRNAs control the pathophysiology of tumors, wherein their accessible binding sites can be sequenced by Argonaute crosslinking immunoprecipitation (AGO CLIP). Herein, based on AGO CLIP, we develop potent anticancer siRNAs utilizing miRNA-like activity (mi/siRNAs). The mi/siRNAs contain seed sequences (positions 2–7) of tumor-suppressive miRNAs while maintaining perfect sequence complementarity to the AGO-accessible tumor target sites. Initially, host miRNA interactions with human papillomavirus 18 (HPV18) were identified in cervical cancer by AGO CLIP, revealing tumor-suppressive activity of miR-1/206 and miR-218. Based on the AGO-miRNA binding sites, mi/siRNAs were designed to target E6 and E7 (E6/E7) transcript with seed sequences of miR-1/206 (206/E7) and miR-218 (218/E7). Synergistic anticancer activity of 206/E7 and 218/E7 was functionally validated and confirmed via RNA sequencing and in vivo xenograft models (206/E7). Other mi/siRNA sequences were additionally designed for cervical, ovarian, and breast cancer, and available as an online tool (; some of the mi/siRNAs were validated for their augmented anticancer activity (206/EphA2 and 206/Her2). mi/siRNAs could coordinate miRNA-like activity with robust siRNA function, demonstrating the potential of AGO CLIP analysis for RNAi therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1172-1190
Number of pages19
JournalMolecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 5


  • breast cancer
  • cervical cancer
  • miRNA
  • ovarian cancer
  • siRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery


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