A Simplified and Versatile System for the Simultaneous Expression of Multiple siRNAs in Mammalian Cells Using Gibson DNA Assembly.

PloS one

PubMedID: 25398142

Deng F, Chen X, Liao Z, Yan Z, Wang Z, Deng Y, Zhang Q, Zhang Z, Ye J, Qiao M, Li R, Denduluri S, Wang J, Wei Q, Li M, Geng N, Zhao L, Zhou G, Zhang P, Luu HH, Haydon RC, Reid RR, Yang T, He TC. A Simplified and Versatile System for the Simultaneous Expression of Multiple siRNAs in Mammalian Cells Using Gibson DNA Assembly. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(11):e113064.
RNA interference (RNAi) denotes sequence-specific mRNA degradation induced by short interfering double-stranded RNA (siRNA) and has become a revolutionary tool for functional annotation of mammalian genes, as well as for development of novel therapeutics. The practical applications of RNAi are usually achieved by expressing short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) or siRNAs in cells. However, a major technical challenge is to simultaneously express multiple siRNAs to silence one or more genes. We previously developed pSOS system, in which siRNA duplexes are made from oligo templates driven by opposing U6 and H1 promoters. While effective, it is not equipped to express multiple siRNAs in a single vector. Gibson DNA Assembly (GDA) is an in vitro recombination system that has the capacity to assemble multiple overlapping DNA molecules in a single isothermal step. Here, we developed a GDA-based pSOK assembly system for constructing single vectors that express multiple siRNA sites. The assembly fragments were generated by PCR amplifications from the U6-H1 template vector pB2B. GDA assembly specificity was conferred by the overlapping unique siRNA sequences of insert fragments. To prove the technical feasibility, we constructed pSOK vectors that contain four siRNA sites and three siRNA sites targeting human and mouse ß-catenin, respectively. The assembly reactions were efficient, and candidate clones were readily identified by PCR screening. Multiple ß-catenin siRNAs effectively silenced endogenous ß-catenin expression, inhibited Wnt3A-induced ß-catenin/Tcf4 reporter activity and expression of Wnt/ß-catenin downstream genes. Silencing ß-catenin in mesenchymal stem cells inhibited Wnt3A-induced early osteogenic differentiation and significantly diminished synergistic osteogenic activity between BMP9 and Wnt3A in vitro and in vivo. These findings demonstrate that the GDA-based pSOK system has been proven simplistic, effective and versatile for simultaneous expression of multiple siRNAs. Thus, the reported pSOK system should be a valuable tool for gene function studies and development of novel therapeutics.