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A rapid and sensitive assay for quantification of siRNA efficiency and specificity

Abstract

RNA Interference has rapidly emerged as an efficient procedure for knocking down gene expression in model systems. However, cross-reactivity, whereby multiple genes may be simultaneously targeted by a single short interfering RNA (siRNA), can potentially jeopardize correct interpretation of gene function. As such, it is essential to test the specificity of a siRNA prior to a full phenotypic analysis. To this end, we have adapted a reporter-based assay harnessing the sensitivity of luciferase activity to provide a quantitative readout of relative RNAi efficacy and specificity. We have tested different siRNAs directed against Thymosin β4 (Tβ4); determined their effectiveness at silencing Tβ4 and have both excluded off-target silencing of the Tβ4 homologue Thymosin β10 (Tβ10) and demonstrated partial knockdown of Tβ10 despite significant (12/23; 52%) sequence mismatch. This assay system is applicable to any RNAi study where there is a risk of targeting homologous genes and to the monitoring of off-target effects at the genome level following microarray expression profiling.

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Correspondence to Paul Richard Riley.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Smart, N., Scambler, P.J. & Riley, P.R. A rapid and sensitive assay for quantification of siRNA efficiency and specificity. Biol. Proced. Online 7, 1–7 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1251/bpo99

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1251/bpo99

Indexing terms

  • Thymosin beta(4)
  • Thymosin beta(10)