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Researchers discover way to increase synthetic mRNA’s protein production

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According to the authors, the demand for synthetic mRNA as an alternative therapeutic agent for protein delivery is growing rapidly. However, synthetic mRNA has low cellular stability and poor protein production efficiency, which limits its practical application, requiring repeated injections of high doses of mRNA drugs and vaccines to produce sufficient protein in the body. .


A study published in the December 13 issue of the journal Molecular therapy – nucleic acidsan HKUST team led by Dr. Becki Yi Kuang, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, has discovered a way to increase both the longevity and efficiency of mRNA.


By manipulating the tail sequences of various mRNAs, Kuang’s team ultimately achieved 3- to 10-fold higher than unoptimized tail sequences commonly used for synthetic mRNAs in both human and mouse cells. We found an optimized sequence that could produce twice as much protein. The duration of protein production was also doubled.


This technology not only reduces the amount and number of injections required for mRNA drugs and vaccines, it also has the potential to lower the cost of treatment. According to the authors, it can also be used with other mRNA-enhancing techniques to synergistically boost protein production.


In the future, researchers will collaborate with Sun Yat-sen University to investigate the use of optimized tails for mRNA cancer vaccines in animals.


“We also look forward to working with pharmaceutical companies to move this invention into mRNA therapeutics and vaccine development pipelines to benefit society,” Kuang said in a statement.


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