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      Progress Toward In Vivo Use of siRNAs-II

      Molecular Therapy

      Springer Nature

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          Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans.

           S Kostas,  A Fire,  S Xu (1998)
          Experimental introduction of RNA into cells can be used in certain biological systems to interfere with the function of an endogenous gene. Such effects have been proposed to result from a simple antisense mechanism that depends on hybridization between the injected RNA and endogenous messenger RNA transcripts. RNA interference has been used in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to manipulate gene expression. Here we investigate the requirements for structure and delivery of the interfering RNA. To our surprise, we found that double-stranded RNA was substantially more effective at producing interference than was either strand individually. After injection into adult animals, purified single strands had at most a modest effect, whereas double-stranded mixtures caused potent and specific interference. The effects of this interference were evident in both the injected animals and their progeny. Only a few molecules of injected double-stranded RNA were required per affected cell, arguing against stochiometric interference with endogenous mRNA and suggesting that there could be a catalytic or amplification component in the interference process.
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            Duplexes of 21-nucleotide RNAs mediate RNA interference in cultured mammalian cells.

            RNA interference (RNAi) is the process of sequence-specific, post-transcriptional gene silencing in animals and plants, initiated by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) that is homologous in sequence to the silenced gene. The mediators of sequence-specific messenger RNA degradation are 21- and 22-nucleotide small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) generated by ribonuclease III cleavage from longer dsRNAs. Here we show that 21-nucleotide siRNA duplexes specifically suppress expression of endogenous and heterologous genes in different mammalian cell lines, including human embryonic kidney (293) and HeLa cells. Therefore, 21-nucleotide siRNA duplexes provide a new tool for studying gene function in mammalian cells and may eventually be used as gene-specific therapeutics.
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              Silencing of microRNAs in vivo with 'antagomirs'.

              MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an abundant class of non-coding RNAs that are believed to be important in many biological processes through regulation of gene expression. The precise molecular function of miRNAs in mammals is largely unknown and a better understanding will require loss-of-function studies in vivo. Here we show that a novel class of chemically engineered oligonucleotides, termed 'antagomirs', are efficient and specific silencers of endogenous miRNAs in mice. Intravenous administration of antagomirs against miR-16, miR-122, miR-192 and miR-194 resulted in a marked reduction of corresponding miRNA levels in liver, lung, kidney, heart, intestine, fat, skin, bone marrow, muscle, ovaries and adrenals. The silencing of endogenous miRNAs by this novel method is specific, efficient and long-lasting. The biological significance of silencing miRNAs with the use of antagomirs was studied for miR-122, an abundant liver-specific miRNA. Gene expression and bioinformatic analysis of messenger RNA from antagomir-treated animals revealed that the 3' untranslated regions of upregulated genes are strongly enriched in miR-122 recognition motifs, whereas downregulated genes are depleted in these motifs. Analysis of the functional annotation of downregulated genes specifically predicted that cholesterol biosynthesis genes would be affected by miR-122, and plasma cholesterol measurements showed reduced levels in antagomir-122-treated mice. Our findings show that antagomirs are powerful tools to silence specific miRNAs in vivo and may represent a therapeutic strategy for silencing miRNAs in disease.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1038/mt.2011.263

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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