Inhibiting mutant KRAS G12D gene expression using novel peptide nucleic acid-based antisense: A potential new drug candidate for pancreatic cancer

Ayelet Shai, Evleen Galouk, Reem Miari, Hala Tareef, Marei Sammar, Mouhammad Zeidan, Anwar Rayan, Mizied Falah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


KRAS mutations, which are the main cause of the pathogenesis of lethal pancreatic adenocarcinomas, impair the functioning of the GTPase subunit, thus rendering it consti- tutively active and signaling intracellular pathways that end with cell transformation. In the present study, the AsPC-1 cell line, which has a G12D-mutated KRAS gene sequence, was utilized as a cellular model to test peptide nucleic acid-based antisense technology. The use of peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) that are built to exhibit improved hybridization specificity and have an affinity for complementary RNA and DNA sequences, as well as a simple chemical structure and high biological stability that affords resistance to nucleases and proteases, enabled targeting of the KRAS-mutated gene to inhibit its expression at the translation level. Because PNA-based antisense molecules should be capable of binding to KRAS mRNA sequences, PNAs were utilized to target the mRNA of the mutated KRAS gene, a strategy that could lead to the development of a novel drug for pancreatic cancer. Moreover, it was demonstrated that introducing new PNA to cells inhibited the growth of cancer cells and induced apoptotic death and, notably, that it can inhibit G12D-mutated KRAS gene expression, as demonstrated by RT-PCR and western blotting. Altogether, these data strongly suggest that the use of PNA-based antisense agents is an attractive therapeutic approach to treating KRAS-driven cancers and may lead to the development of novel drugs that target the expression of other mutated genes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partially supported by the Israel Innovation Authority (an incubator project that was granted to GeneArrest, Ltd., between the years 2009 and 2015) and The Ministry for Development of the Periphery, Negev and Galilee, 2016 (AS, RA and MF).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Spandidos Publications. All rights reserved.


  • Drug candidate
  • KRAS
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Peptide nucleic acid
  • Peptide nucleic acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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