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  1. We have developed a non-cationic transfection vector in the form of bottlebrush polymer-antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) conjugates. Termed pacDNA (polymer-assisted compaction of DNA), these agents show improved biopharmaceutical characteristics and antisense potency in vivo while suppressing non-antisense side effects. Nonetheless, there still is a lack of the mechanistic understanding of the cellular uptake, subcellular trafficking, and gene knockdown with pacDNA. Here, we show that the pacDNA enters human non-small cell lung cancer cells (NCI-H358) predominantly by scavenger receptor-mediated endocytosis and macropinocytosis and trafficks via the endolysosomal pathway within the cell. The pacDNA significantly reduces a target gene expression (KRAS) in the protein level but not in the mRNA level, despite that the transfection of certain free ASOs causes ribonuclease H1 (RNase H)-dependent degradation of KRAS mRNA. In addition, the antisense activity of pacDNA is independent of ASO chemical modification, suggesting that the pacDNA always functions as a steric blocker. 
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  2. The mutant form of the guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) KRAS is a key driver in human tumors but remains a challenging therapeutic target, making KRAS MUT cancers a highly unmet clinical need. Here, we report a class of bottlebrush polyethylene glycol (PEG)–conjugated antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) for potent in vivo KRAS depletion. Owing to their highly branched architecture, these molecular nanoconstructs suppress nearly all side effects associated with DNA–protein interactions and substantially enhance the pharmacological properties of the ASO, such as plasma pharmacokinetics and tumor uptake. Systemic delivery to mice bearing human non–small-cell lung carcinoma xenografts results in a significant reduction in both KRAS levels and tumor growth, and the antitumor performance well exceeds that of current popular ASO paradigms, such as chemically modified oligonucleotides and PEGylation using linear or slightly branched PEG. Importantly, these conjugates relax the requirement on the ASO chemistry, allowing unmodified, natural phosphodiester ASOs to achieve efficacy comparable to that of chemically modified ones. Both the bottlebrush polymer and its ASO conjugates appear to be safe and well tolerated in mice. Together, these data indicate that the molecular brush–ASO conjugate is a promising therapeutic platform for the treatment of KRAS -driven human cancers and warrant further preclinical and clinical development. 
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  3. As large-scale scientific simulations and big data analyses become more popular, it is increasingly more expensive to store huge amounts of raw simulation results to perform post-analysis. To minimize the expensive data I/O, “in-situ” analysis is a promising approach, where data analysis applications analyze the simulation generated data on the fly without storing it first. However, it is challenging to organize, transform, and transport data at scales between two semantically different ecosystems due to the distinct software and hardware difference. To tackle these challenges, we design and implement the X-Composer framework. X-Composer connects cross-ecosystem applications to form an “in-situ” scientific workflow, and provides a unified approach and recipe for supporting such hybrid in-situ workflows on distributed heterogeneous resources. X-Composer reorganizes simulation data as continuous data streams and feeds them seamlessly into the Cloud-based stream processing services to minimize I/O overheads. For evaluation, we use X-Composer to set up and execute a cross-ecosystem workflow, which consists of a parallel Computational Fluid Dynamics simulation running on HPC, and a distributed Dynamic Mode Decomposition analysis application running on Cloud. Our experimental results show that X-Composer can seamlessly couple HPC and Big Data jobs in their own native environments, achieve good scalability, and provide high-fidelity analytics for ongoing simulations in real-time. 
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  4. null (Ed.)