RNA Interference and Practical Aspects of Its Application
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague
RNA interference (RNAi) is a natural mechanism that inhibits gene expression at the stage of translation or by blocking the transcription of specific genes. RNAi targets include RNA from viruses and transposons which could contribute to innate immune response. RNAi plays a key role in regulating genom development and its maintenance. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) and micro RNA (miRNA) are a key to the RNAi process. Their nucleotide sequences are complementary to the target mRNA strand. The selective effect of RNAi on gene expression makes it a valuable research tool, both in cell culture and in living organisms, because synthetic dsRNA introduced into cells can induce suppression of specific genes of interest. RNAi may also be used for large-scale screenings that systematically silence expression of genes in the cell, which can help identify the components necessary for a particular cell process. To develop an effective gene-silencing procedure, several approaches to the long-term introduction of RNA into cells have been tested. RNA silencing seems to be a promising tool in biotechnology, pharmacology and medicine.
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