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Effect of target secondary structure on RNAi efficiency.


ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) mediated by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) or short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) has become a powerful tool for gene knockdown studies. However, the levels of knockdown vary greatly. Here, we examine the effect of target disruption energy, a novel measure of target accessibility, along with other parameters that may affect RNAi efficiency. Based on target secondary structures predicted by the Sfold program, the target disruption energy represents the free energy cost for local alteration of the target structure to allow target binding by the siRNA guide strand. In analyses of 100 siRNAs and 101 shRNAs targeted to 103 endogenous human genes, we find that the disruption energy is an important determinant of RNAi activity and the asymmetry of siRNA duplex asymmetry is important for facilitating the assembly of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). We estimate that target accessibility and duplex asymmetry can improve the target knockdown level significantly by nearly 40% and 26%, respectively. In the RNAi pathway, RISC assembly precedes target binding by the siRNA guide strand. Thus, our findings suggest that duplex asymmetry has significant upstream effect on RISC assembly and target accessibility has strong downstream effect on target recognition. The results of the analyses suggest criteria for improving the design of siRNAs and shRNAs.

SUBMITTER: Shao Y 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC1986803 | BioStudies | 2007-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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