Saturday, December 31, 2005


27mers vs 21mers for Effective Gene Silencing in the Nervous System

In cells, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are produced by enzymatic cleavage of long dsRNAs by the RNase-III class endoribonuclease Dicer. The siRNAs associate with the RNA Induced Silencing Complex (RISC) in a process that is facilitated by Dicer. Dicer-Substrate RNAi methods take advantage of the link between Dicer and RISC loading that occurs when RNAs are processed by Dicer as a heterodimer with TRBP. Traditional 21-mer siRNAs are chemically synthesized RNA duplexes that mimic Dicer products and bypass the need for Dicer processing. Dicer-Substrate RNAs are chemically synthesized 27-mer RNA duplexes that are optimized for Dicer processing and show increased potency when compared with 21-mer duplexes.

An Efficient Intrathecal Delivery of Small Interfering RNA to the Spinal Cord and Peripheral Neurons.

Luo MC, Zhang DQ, Ma SW, Huang YY, Shuster SJ, Porreca F, Lai J.We have developed a highly effective method for in vivo gene silencing in the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) by a cationic lipid facilitated delivery of synthetic, small interfering RNA (siRNA). A siRNA to the delta opioid receptor (DOR), or a mismatch RNA, was mixed with the transfection reagent, i-FectTM (vehicle), and delivered as repeated daily bolus doses (0.5 microgram to 4 micrograms) via implanted intrathecal catheter to the lumbar spinal cord of rats. Twenty-four hours after the last injection, rats were tested for antinociception by the DOR selective agonist, [D-Ala2,Glu4]deltorphin II (DELT), or the mu opioid receptor (MOR) selective agonist, [D-Ala2, N-Me-Phe4, Gly-ol5]enkephalin (DAMGO). Pretreatment with the siRNA, but not the mismatch RNA or vehicle alone, blocked DELT antinociception dose-dependently. The latter was concomitant with a reduction in the spinal immunoreactivity and receptor density of DOR, and in DOR transcripts in the lumbar DRG and spinal dorsal horn. Neither siRNA nor mismatch RNA pretreatment altered spinal immunoreactivity of MOR or antinociception by spinal DAMGO, and had no effect on the baseline thermal nociceptive threshold. The inhibition of function and expression of DOR by siRNA was reversed by 72 hr after the last RNA injection. The uptake of fluorescence-tagged siRNA was detected in both DRG and spinal cord. The low effective dose of siRNA/i-FectTM complex reflects an efficient delivery of the siRNA to peripheral and spinal neurons, produces no behavioral signs of toxicity, and this delivery method may be optimized for other gene targets.
The full-text, Open Access, article can be found online at: