RNA Interference and Its Applications



RNA interference (RNAi) refers to a group of post-transcriptional or transcriptional gene silencing mechanisms conserved from fungi to mammals. It is a phenomenon primarily for the regulation of gene expression, self or nonself depending upon the surrounding factors or conditions. It is done in nature with the help of noncoding RNA molecules to control cellular metabolism and helps in maintaining genomic integrity by preventing the invasion of viruses and mobile genetic elements. It is a simple and rapid method of silencing gene expression in a range of organisms as a consequence of degradation of RNA into short RNAs that activate ribonucleases to target homologous mRNA. The process of RNAi can be mediated by either small interfering RNA (siRNA) or micro RNA (miRNA). The RNAi pathway is triggered by the presence of double-stranded RNA, which is cleaved by the ribonuclease-III domain-containing enzyme Dicer to generate 20–25 nucleotide long siRNA duplexes. siRNA is then loaded onto the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), in which an Argonaute (Ago)-family protein, guided by the siRNA, mediates the cleavage of homologous RNAs. Synthetic double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) introduced into cells can selectively and robustly induce suppression of specific genes of interest. Because of its exquisite specificity and efficiency, RNAi is being considered as valuable research tool, not only for functional genomics, but also for gene-specific therapeutic activities that target the mRNAs of disease-related genes.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Gene Silence Respiratory Syncytial Virus PIWI Domain dsRNA Binding 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Agarwal A, Dasaradhi PVN, Mohmmed A, Malhotra P, Bhatnagar RK, Mukherjee SK (2003) RNA interference: biology, mechanism, and applications. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 67(4):657–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angaji SA, Hedayati SS, Poor RH, Madani S, Poor SS, Panahi S (2010) Application of RNA interference in treating human diseases. J Gen 89:527–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernstein E, Caudy A, Hammond S, Hannon G (2001) Role for a bidentate ribonuclease in the initiation step of RNA interference. Nature 409(6818):363–366PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chi JT, Chang HY, Wang NN, Chang DS, Dunthy N, Brown PO (2003) Genomewide view of gene silencing by small interfering RNAs. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:6343–6346PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. de Jonge J, Holtrop M, Wilschut J, Huckriede A (2006) Rreconstituted influenza virus envelope as an efficient carrier system for the cellular delivery of small interfering RNAs. Gene Ther 13(5):400–411PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fire A, Xu S, Montgomery MK, Kostas SA, Driver SE, Mello CC (1998) Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature 391:806–811PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hammond SM, Boettcher S, Caudy AA, Kobayashi R, Hannon GJ (2001) Argonaute2, a link between genetic and biochemical analyses of RNAi. Science 293:1146–1150PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lee RC, Feinbaum RL, Ambros V (1993) The C. elegans heterochronic gene lin-4 encodes small RNAs with antisense complementarity to lin-14″. Cell 75(5):843–854PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mutti NS, Park Y, Reese JC, Reeck GR (2006) RNAi knockdown of a salivary transcript leading to lethality in the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. J Ins Sci 6:38Google Scholar
  10. Napoli C, Lemieux C, Jorgensen R (1990) Introduction of a chimeric chalcone synthase gene into petunia results in reversible co-suppression of homologous gene in trans. Plant Cell 2:279–289PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Nguyen T, Menocal EM, Harborth J, Fruehauf JH (2008) RNAi therapeutics: an update on delivery. Curr Opin Mol Thera 10(2):158–167Google Scholar
  12. Poy MN, Eliasson L, Krutzfeldt J, Kuwajima S, Ma X, Macdonald PE, Pfeffer S, Tuschl T, Rajewsky N, Rorsman P, Stoffel M (2004) A pancreatic islet-specific microRNA regulates insulin secretion. Nature 432:226–230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Taniguchi CM, Ueki K, Kahn CR (2005) Complementary roles of IRS-1 and IRS-2 in the hepatic regulation of metabolism. J Clin Invest 115:718–727PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Wallach T (2004) Acuity pharmaceuticals announces completion of financing round. Acuity Pharma 215:966–6181Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biochemical Engineering DepartmentBT Kumaon Institute of TechnologyDwarahatIndia

Personalised recommendations