New tool for RNA silencing

April 1, 2010

Anti-sense reagents have been developed for C. Elegans micro RNA. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Silence have created the first class of reagents to potently and selectively inhibit miRNAs in this widely used model organism.

Wen-hong Li, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA, worked with a team of researchers including Dr. Genhua Zheng and Dr. Victor Ambros (University of Massachusetts Medical School) to develop this latest addition to the genetics toolkit.

He said, "Caenorhabditis elegans has long been used as a for studying the regulation and function of small non-coding , and yet no antisense reagents have been available to reliably inhibit miRNAs in worms. Our fluorescently labeled reagents were synthesized by conjugating dextran with 2'-O-methyl oligoribonucleotide, and can be conveniently introduced into the of adult hermaphrodites and are transmitted to their progeny".

Li's team found that their new reagents efficiently and specifically inhibited targeted miRNA in different tissues, including the hypodermis, the vulva and the nervous system. They can be used combinatorially to inhibit more than one miRNA in the same animal.

They conclude, "Combined with numerous mutants or reporter stains available, these reagents should provide a convenient approach to examine genetic interactions that involve miRNA, and may facilitate studying functions of miRNAs, especially ones whose deletion strains are difficult to generate. Further, the remarkable efficacy of these antisense reagents seen in worms also suggested C. elegans as a powerful, convenient, and economical to facilitate developing new chemistry and novel probes for studying miRNA and other small non-coding RNAs".

Explore further: Pair of microRNA molecules controls major oncogene in most common leukemia

More information: Inhibiting miRNA in Caenorhabditis elegans using a potent and selective antisense reagent, Genhua Zheng, Victor Ambros and Wen-hong Li, Silence 2010, 1:9. doi:10.1186/1758-907X-1-9

Related Stories

Tiny genes may increase cancer susceptibility

May 23, 2007

New evidence indicates that small pieces of noncoding genetic material known as microRNAs (miRNAs) might influence cancer susceptibility. Differences in certain miRNAs may predispose some individuals to develop cancer, say ...

Researchers discover how microRNAs control protein synthesis

July 9, 2007

While most RNAs work to create, package, and transfer proteins as determined by the cell’s immediate needs, miniature pieces of RNA, called microRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression. Recently, researchers from the University ...

Researchers Identify microRNA targets in C. elegans

January 10, 2010

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNAs that impact almost every aspect of biology. In recent years, they have been strongly implicated in stem cell biology, tissue and organism development, as well as human conditions ranging ...

Recommended for you

A better way to read the genome

October 9, 2015

UConn researchers have sequenced the RNA of the most complicated gene known in nature, using a hand-held sequencer no bigger than a cell phone.

Threat posed by 'pollen thief' bees uncovered

October 9, 2015

A new University of Stirling study has uncovered the secrets of 'pollen thief' bees - which take pollen from flowers but fail to act as effective pollinators - and the threat they pose to certain plant species.

Mapping the protein universe

October 9, 2015

To understand how life works, figure out the proteins first. DNA is the architect of life, but proteins are the workhorses. After proteins are built using DNA blueprints, they are constantly at work breaking down and building ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.