Navigation Links
UCSF creates fast, affordable tool for finding gene 'on-off' switches

UCSF scientists have created a method of quickly identifying large numbers of the genetic material known as short hairpin RNA also called shRNA that turns genes on and off.

The method, which the research team has used to create a library of 22,000 of these "on-off" switches for roughly 600 human genes, provides a tool for scientists throughout the world, with ultimate impacts on the study of the genetic basis of diseases ranging from HIV to high cholesterol, Parkinson's disease or cancer. The team is currently working on creating an shRNA library for the entire human genome.

Findings are available in the Advanced Online Publication section of the journal Nature Methods at and will appear in the June 2009 print issue of the journal.

Since their discovery in the past decade, biologically active small RNAs have become the holy grail of much pharmaceutical and genomics research, offering the hope of creating targeted therapeutics to "turn off" or turn down the "volume" of various genes involved in disease, according to Michael McManus, PhD, a UCSF microbiology professor and senior author on the paper. This process is known as RNA interference.

Until now, however, the process of finding shRNAs that are able to potently deactivate a given gene has been extremely laborious and laden with many false results.

The new method uses a microarray technology to generate large numbers of these shRNA strands for each target gene roughly 10 times the volume of traditional methods thereby enabling researchers to screen for RNA interference much faster than before and at a minimal cost, McManus said. "This means that even a small laboratory with limited resources can perform complex genetic screens on mammalian cell cultures," he said. "With the current scarcity of research funding, these are invaluable tools for researchers worldwide."

Many diseases already have been linked to specific genes that are mutated or turned on to cause the illness. How those genes actually cause the illness is less clear, but by using shRNA to turn the genes off, researchers can study specific genetic function and start to identify drugs or therapeutics to change it.

The system, which uses "deep sequencing" technology to rapidly uncover effective shRNAs by simultaneously sequencing millions of base pairs of DNA, also enables scientists to better identify which of those tiny RNA-strands is most effective in turning off a particular gene and which ones are effective but also cause side effects on untargeted genes.

Research into gene function has been done for years with worms and fruit flies, whose short life spans and rapid reproduction make genetic testing relatively inexpensive, McManus said. But in mammals, studying the function of individual genes can often cost a laboratory $100,000 or more in basic materials and require complex technology to run.

The UCSF shRNA library aims to offer more than 600,000 different samples of shRNA roughly 30 for every human gene. Once the shRNA library is complete for the human genome, the team will continue creating libraries for other species.

McManus said he plans to make shRNA libraries available through the UCSF Sandler Lentiviral RNAi Core, which he directs. The Core provides essential equipment, training, supervision, and monitoring for researchers working in lentiviral-based research, as well as offering viral packaging and other services for researchers.


Contact: Kristen Bole
University of California - San Francisco

Related medicine news :

1. S.C. BlueCross Creates Corporate Planning Unit, Promotes Davis to Vice President
2. TriWest Creates First-of-its-Kind Partnership to Offer Military Leaders With Grief Support Program
3. Exceptional Childrens Foundation Merger with Kayne Eras Center Creates One of States Most Comprehensive Nonprofits Serving the Disabled
4. Prime Access Creates Groundbreaking Ads Targeting Urban Teens for the White Houses National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
5. L.A. Playwright Creates an Enormous Wave with His New Book, Touch the Ocean
6. Alter+Care Creates the Advisory Board
7. Hollings Cancer Center Creates $1 Million Endowed Chair for Breast Cancer Research and Treatment with Gift from the Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation
8. Bayer Foundation Grant Creates Graduate Engineering Fellowship at University of Houston
9. Creative Technology Services Creates a New Operating Company Focused on Mobility
10. inVentiv Health Creates Client Development and Integration Team
11. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute creates national network to study cardiovascular disease
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... 1Heart Caregiver ... of the Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce held from November 6-8, ... , 1Heart Caregiver Services, as an active delegate from the Philippine American Chamber ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... Until now, the ... set forth in the MOMS (Management of Myelomeningocele Study) trial. One of these exclusion ... and Prevention), a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal, 25 - 29.9 ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... According to research by the National Association of Dental ... certified or obtain continuing education. To increase awareness of the lack of standards ... inform dentists that the technicians they trust could lack the skills and knowledge ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Fla. (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... MOSI ... Land, and Sea along with Back to the Jurassic to their collection of interactive ... INDE has created dynamic worlds that will allow guests to get closer than ever ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... In ... Halloween festivities, the Word of Life Christian Church of Flint, MI, hosted a ... a giant 1.25 ton pile of candy dubbed “Candy Mountain”. , A Forever ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 30, 2015 ... ARNA ) today announced that the U.S. Food ... New Drug Application (NDA) for an extended release formulation ... offer patients a chronic weight management treatment in a ... currently approved as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash. and ST. ... Cross and Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX ) today ... benefit agreement. The partnership, which began in 1999, will ... --> --> After evaluating pharmacy ... process, Premera concluded that Express Scripts continues to offer ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... N.H. , Nov. 30, 2015 ... that it will feature its latest solutions for ... early identification of cancer at the Radiological Society ... Chicago from November 29 ... recent product advances including iReveal®, an automated breast ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: