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RNA-mediated interference as a tool for identifying drug targets

, : RNA-mediated interference as a tool for identifying drug targets. American Journal of Pharmacogenomics 1(1): 45-53

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is the first multicellular organism with a fully sequenced genome. As a model organism, C. elegans is playing a special role in functional genomic analyses because it is experimentally tractable on many levels. Moreover, the lessons learned from C. elegans are often applicable across phyla because many of the key biologic processes involved in development and disease have been well conserved. Many global approaches for analysing gene activity are being pursued in C. elegans. RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) is an efficient high-throughput method to disrupt gene function. The basic technique of RNAi involves introducing sequence-specific double-stranded RNA into C. elegans in order to generate a nonheritable, epigenetic knockout of gene function that phenocopies a null mutation in the targeted gene. This technique drastically reduces the time needed to jump from the identification of an interesting gene sequence to achieving an understanding of its function. Thus, RNAi facilitates the high-throughput functional analysis of gene targets identified during drug discovery. RNAi can also help to identify the biochemical mode of action of a drug or pesticide and to identify other genes encoding products that may respond or interact with specific compounds.


PMID: 12173314

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