A New Approach to RNA Synthesis: Immobilization of Stably and Functionally Co-Tethered Promoter DNA and T7 RNA Polymerase

Kithmie MalagodaPathiranage, Ruptanu Banerjee, and Craig T. Martin, Nucleic Acids Research, July, 2024

Current approaches to RNA synthesis/manufacturing require substantial (and incomplete) purification post-synthesis. We have previously demonstrated the synthesis of RNA from a complex in which T7 RNA polymerase is tethered to promoter DNA. In the current work, we extend this approach to demonstrate an extremely stable system of functional co-tethered complex to a solid support. Using the system attached to magnetic beads, we carry out more than 20 rounds of synthesis using the initial polymerase-DNA construct. We further demonstrate the wide utility of this system in the synthesis of short RNA, a CRISPR guide RNA, and a protein-coding mRNA. In all cases, the generation of self-templated double stranded RNA (dsRNA) impurities are greatly reduced, by both the tethering itself and by the salt-tolerance that local co-tethering provides. Transfection of the mRNA into HEK293T cells shows a correlation between added salt in the transcription reaction (which inhibits RNA rebinding that generates RNA-templated extensions) and significantly increased expression and reduced innate immune stimulation by the mRNA reaction product. These results point in the direction of streamlined processes for synthesis/manufacturing of high-quality RNA of any length, and at greatly reduced costs.

PMID: xxxxxxxxxx DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkae599