Low allelic and clonal variability among endogenous RNAi targets has focused mismatch tolerance studies to RNAi-active guide strands. However, the inherent genomic instability of RNA viruses such as hepatitis C virus (HCV) gives rise to quasi-species mutants within discrete clones: this facilitates mismatch tolerance studies from a target perspective. We recently quantified the slicing imprecision of Argonaute 2 using small interfering RNA (siRNA) analogs of the DNA-directed RNAi drug TT-034 and next-generation sequencing of 5′ RNA ligase-mediated rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE-SEQ). Here, we present an open-source, customizable, and computationally light RACE-SEQ bioinformatic pipeline, describing adaptations that semiquantitatively report the impact of RNAi hybridization site mismatches from the target perspective. The analysis shows that Argonaute 2 has a substitution-specific, 3- to 5-log activity window between fully complementary targets and targets with mismatches across positions 10–11. It further focuses the endonucleotic Slicer imprecision around positions 13–17, demonstrating its dependence on guide strand central region complementarity, and potentiation by even a single mismatch. We further propose pharmacogenomics value in testing endogenous targets using recombinant replicon systems and RACE-SEQ to report the pharmacodynamics of sequence-specific oligonucleotide therapeutics against all possible polymorphisms in a population, in a minimally biased, patient-free manner.
Theotokis, P. I., Usher, L., Kortschak, C. K., Schwalbe, E., & Moschos, S. A. (2017). Profiling the Mismatch Tolerance of Argonaute 2 through Deep Sequencing of Sliced Polymorphic Viral RNAs. Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids, 9, 22–33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.omtn.2017.08.010