Researchers from¬†Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cient?≠ficas-Universitat Polit?®cnica de Val?®ncia in Spain have developed two techniques based on trans-acting small interfering RNAs (syn-tasiRNAs) to moderate the degree of silencing induced by a plant's genes. The findings are released in¬†Nucleic Acids Research.
RNA interference¬†(RNAi) is commonly used in plants to silence genes and study gene functions or improve crops. However, methods for fine-tuning the degree of induced silencing are missing. Thus, Lucio L??pez-Dolz and the team came up with two techniques based on artificial small RNAs (sRNAs) to fine-tune RNAi efficacy in plants.
The first method entails modification of the precursor position from which the syn-tasiRNA is expressed. Using this method, it was shown that the accumulation and efficacy of Arabidopsis¬†TAS1c-based syn-tasiRNAs progressively decreased as the syn-tasiRNA is expressed from positions more distal to the trigger miR173 target site. The second method tweaks the degree of base-pairing between the 3‚?? end of the syn-tasiRNA and the 5‚?? end of the target RNA.
Both methods have been successfully applied in¬†Arabidopsis thaliana¬†and¬†Nicotiana benthamiana.