Ruthenium-caged antisense morpholinos for regulating gene expression in zebrafish embryos

Julianne C. Griepenburg, Teresa L. Rapp, Patrick J. Carroll, James Eberwine, Ivan J. Dmochowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Photochemical approaches afford high spatiotemporal control over molecular structure and function, for broad applications in materials and biological science. Here, we present the first example of a visible light responsive ruthenium-based photolinker, Ru(bipyridine)2(3-ethynylpyridine)2 (RuBEP), which was reacted stoichiometrically with a 25mer DNA or morpholino (MO) oligonucleotide functionalized with 3′ and 5′ terminal azides, via Cu(i)-mediated [3+2] Huisgen cycloaddition reactions. RuBEP-caged circular morpholinos (Ru-MOs) targeting two early developmental zebrafish genes, chordin and notail, were synthesized and tested in vivo. One-cell-stage zebrafish embryos microinjected with Ru-MO and incubated in the dark for 24 h developed normally, consistent with caging, whereas irradiation at 450 nm dissociated one 3-ethynylpyridine ligand (Φ = 0.33) and uncaged the MO to achieve gene knockdown. As demonstrated, Ru photolinkers provide a versatile method for controlling structure and function of biopolymers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2342-2346
Number of pages5
JournalChemical Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)


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