Complete Chemical Synthesis of Minimal Messenger RNA by Efficient Chemical Capping Reaction

Naoko Abe, Akihiro Imaeda, Masahito Inagaki, Zhenmin Li, Daisuke Kawaguchi, Kaoru Onda, Yuko Nakashima, Satoshi Uchida, Fumitaka Hashiya, Yasuaki Kimura, Hiroshi Abe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Site-specific chemical modification of mRNA can improve its translational efficiency and stability. For this purpose, it is desirable to develop a complete chemical synthesis method for chemically modified mRNA. The key is a chemical reaction that introduces a cap structure into the chemically synthesized RNA. In this study, we developed a fast and quantitative chemical capping reaction between 5′-phosphorylated RNA and N7-methylated GDP imidazolide in the presence of 1-methylimidazole in the organic solvent dimethyl sulfoxide. It enabled quantitative preparation of capping RNA within 3 h. We prepared chemically modified 107-nucleotide mRNAs, including N6-methyladenosine, insertion of non-nucleotide linkers, and 2′-O-methylated nucleotides at the 5′ end and evaluated their effects on translational activity in cultured HeLa cells. The results showed that mRNAs with non-nucleotide linkers in the untranslated regions were sufficiently tolerant to translation and that mRNAs with the Cap_2 structure had higher translational activity than those with the Cap_0 structure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Chemical Biology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


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