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Identification of an Optimal TLR8 Ligand by Alternating the Position of 2'-O-Ribose Methylation.

International journal of molecular sciences

Authors: Marina Nicolai, Julia Steinberg, Hannah-Lena Obermann, Francisco Venegas Solis, Eva Bartok, Stefan Bauer, Stephanie Jung

Recognition of RNA by receptors of the innate immune system is regulated by various posttranslational modifications. Different single 2'-O-ribose (2'-O-) methylations have been shown to convert TLR7/TLR8 ligands into specific TLR8 ligands, so we investigated whether the position of 2'-O-methylation is crucial for its function. To this end, we designed different 2'-O-methylated RNA oligoribonucleotides (ORN), investigating their immune activity in various cell systems and analyzing degradation under RNase T2 treatment. We found that the 18S rRNA-derived TLR7/8 ligand, RNA63, was differentially digested as a result of 2'-O-methylation, leading to variations in TLR8 and TLR7 inhibition. The suitability of certain 2'-O-methylated RNA63 derivatives as TLR8 agonists was further demonstrated by the fact that other RNA sequences were only weak TLR8 agonists. We were thus able to identify specific 2'-O-methylated RNA derivatives as optimal TLR8 ligands.

PMID: 36232437

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