Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Small Interfering RNA (siRNA)

  • Joe C. BragueEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_188-1

Synonyms

Definition

Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are short (~20 nucleotides) RNA sequences that prevent the translation of specific genes by degrading messenger RNA (mRNA) using RNA interference (RNAi).

Introduction

Small interfering ribonucleic acids (siRNAs) are a class of small RNA molecules that activate the RISC (RNA-induced silencing complex) pathway to degrade mRNA and prevent the synthesis of proteins (translation). The biological functions of siRNA are to protect genomic integrity from invasive nucleic acids, such as viruses, and to shape chromosome structure.

The discovery of small interfering RNAs’ (siRNAs’) ability to regulate gene expression is among one of the most significant advances in biology in recent years. Fire et al. (1998) were the first to discover that double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) produced a greater silencing effect than single-stranded RNA alone, arguing for the activation of an RNAi process to produce a viral resistance. It is now...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Chen, P. Y., Weinmann, L., Gaidatzis, D., Pei, Y., Zavolan, M., Tuschl, T., & Meister, G. (2008). Strand-specific 5′-O-methylation of siRNA duplexes controls guide strand selection and targeting specificity. RNA, 14(2), 263–274.  https://doi.org/10.1261/rna.789808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Elbashir, S. M., Harborth, J., Lendeckel, J., Yalcin, A., Weber, K., & Tuschl, T. (2001). Duplexes of 21±nucleotide RNAs mediate RNA interference in cultured mammalian cells. Nature, 411, 494–498.  https://doi.org/10.1038/35078107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Fire, A., Xu, S., Montgomery, M. K., Kostas, S. A., Driver, S. E., & Mello, C. C. (1998). Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature, 391(19), 806–811.  https://doi.org/10.1038/35888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kanasty, R., Dorkin, J. R., Vegas, A., & Anderson, D. (2013). Delivery materials for siRNA therapeutics. Nature Materials, 12(11), 967–977.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3765.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Kim, T. K., & Eberwine, J. H. (2010). Mammalian cell transfection: The present and the future. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 397(8), 3173–3178.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-010-3821-6.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Okamura, K., Ishizuka, A., Siomi, H., & Siomi, M. C. (2004). Distinct roles for Argonaute proteins in small RNA-directed RNA cleavage pathways. Genes & Development, 18(14), 1655–1666.  https://doi.org/10.1101/gad.1210204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Pratt, A. J., & MacRae, I. J. (2009). The RNA-induced silencing complex: A versatile gene-silencing machine. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284(27), 17897–17901. http://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.R900012200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Tatiparti, K., Sau, S., Kashaw, S. K., & Iyer, A. K. (2017). siRNA delivery strategies: A comprehensive review of recent developments. Nanomaterials (Basel), 7(4).  https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7040077.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Wittrup, A., & Lieberman, J. (2015). Knocking down disease: A progress report on siRNA therapeutics. Nature Reviews. Genetics, 16(9), 543–552.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nrg3978.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Zamore, P. D., Tuschl, T., Sharp, P. A., & Bartel, D. P. (2000). RNAi: Double-stranded RNA directs the ATP-dependent cleavage of mRNA at 21 to 23 nucleotide intervals. Cell, 101(1), 25–33.  https://doi.org/10.1016/s0092-8674(00)80620-0.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NeurobiologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Annika Paukner
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Comparative EthologyEunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentPoolesvilleUSA