RNA interference (RNAi) is the process of sequence-specific, post-transcriptional gene silencing in animals and plants, initiated by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) that is homologous in sequence to the silenced gene. The mediators of sequence-specific messenger RNA degradation are 21- and 22-nucleotide small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) generated by ribonuclease III cleavage from longer dsRNAs. Here we show that 21-nucleotide siRNA duplexes specifically suppress expression of endogenous and heterologous genes in different mammalian cell lines, including human embryonic kidney (293) and HeLa cells. Therefore, 21-nucleotide siRNA duplexes provide a new tool for studying gene function in mammalian cells and may eventually be used as gene-specific therapeutics.
- Pub Date:
- May 2001