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Short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) induce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells

Short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) induce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) induce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells 1 1 2,3 1,2,4 Patrick J. Paddison, Amy A. Caudy, Emily Bernstein, Gregory J. Hannon, and Douglas S. Conklin 1 2 Watson School of Biological Sciences, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA; Graduate Program in Genetics, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA RNA interference (RNAi) was first recognized in Caenorhabditis elegans as a biological response to exogenous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which induces sequence-specific gene silencing. RNAi represents a conserved regulatory motif, which is present in a wide range of eukaryotic organisms. Recently, we and others have shown that endogenously encoded triggers of gene silencing act through elements of the RNAi machinery to regulate the expression of protein-coding genes. These small temporal RNAs (stRNAs) are transcribed as short hairpin precursors (∼70 nt), processed into active, 21-nt RNAs by Dicer, and recognize target mRNAs via base-pairing interactions. Here, we show that short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) can be engineered to suppress the expression of desired genes in cultured Drosophila and mammalian cells. shRNAs can be synthesized exogenously or can be transcribed from RNA polymerase III promoters in vivo, thus permitting the construction of continuous cell lines or transgenic animals in which RNAi enforces stable and heritable gene silencing. [Key Words: RNAi; gene silencing; miRNA; shRNA; siRNA] Received January 31, 2002; revised version accepted March 8, 2002. An understanding of the biological role of any gene a method for suppressing gene expression in worms. comes only after observing the phenotypic consequences Through these efforts, they found that double-stranded of altering the function of that gene in a living cell or RNA (dsRNA) was much more effective than antisense organism. In many cases, those organisms for which con- RNA as an inducer of gene silencing. Subsequent studies venient methodologies for genetic manipulation exist have shown that RNAi is a conserved biological response blaze the trail toward an understanding of similar genes that is present in many, if not most, eukaryotic organ- in less tractable organisms, such as mammals. The ad- isms (for review, see Bernstein et al. 2001b; Hammond et vent of RNA interference (RNAi) as an investigational al. 2001b). tool has shown the potential to democratize at least one As a result of biochemical and genetic approaches in aspect of genetic manipulation, the creation of hypomor- several experimental systems, the mechanisms underly- phic alleles, in organisms ranging from unicellular para- ing RNAi have begun to unfold (for review, see Bernstein sites (e.g., Shi et al. 2000) to mammals (Svoboda et al. et al. 2001b; Hammond et al. 2001b). These suggest the 2000; Wianny and Zernicka-Goetz 2000). existence of a conserved machinery for dsRNA-induced Although Caenorhabditis elegans has, for some time, gene silencing, which proceeds via a two-step mecha- been well developed as a forward genetic system, the nism. In the first step, the dsRNA silencing trigger is lack of methodologies for gene replacement by homolo- recognized by an RNase III family nuclease called Dicer, gous recombination presented a barrier to assessing rap- which cleaves the dsRNA into ∼21–23-nt siRNAs (small idly the consequences of loss of function in known interfering RNAs). These siRNAs are incorporated into a genes. In an effort to overcome this limitation, Mello and multicomponent nuclease complex, RISC, which identi- Fire (Fire et al. 1998), building on earlier studies (Guo and fies substrates through their homology to siRNAs and Kemphues 1995), probed the utility of antisense RNA as targets these cognate mRNAs for destruction. Although it was clear from the outset that RNAi would prove a powerful tool for manipulating gene ex- pression in invertebrates, there were several potential Corresponding author. impediments to the use of this approach in mammalian E-MAIL hannon@cshl.org; FAX (516) 367-8874. cells. Most mammalian cells harbor a potent antiviral Article and publication are at http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/doi/10.1101/ gad.981002. response that is triggered by the presence of dsRNA viral 948 GENES & DEVELOPMENT 16:948–958 © 2002 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press ISSN 0890-9369/02 $5.00; www.genesdev.org Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Stable silencing by RNAi replication intermediates. A key component of this re- ration of a similar small RNA, lin-4 (Grishok et al. 2001). sponse is a dsRNA-activated protein kinase, PKR, which Thus, at least some components of the RNAi machinery phosphorylates EIF-2, inducing, in turn, a generalized respond to endogenously encoded triggers to regulate the inhibition of translation (for review, see Williams 1997; expression of target genes. Gil and Esteban 2000). In addition, dsRNA activates the Recent studies have placed let-7 and lin-4 as the found- 25 oligoadenylate polymerase/RNase L system and re- ing members of a potentially very large group of small RNAs known generically as micro-RNAs (miRNAs). presses IB. The ultimate outcome of this set of re- sponses is cell death via apoptosis. Nearly 100 potential miRNAs have now been identified Therefore, it came as a welcome surprise that dsRNA in Drosophila, C. elegans, and mammals (Lagos-Quin- could induce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian tana et al. 2001; Lau et al. 2001; Lee and Ambros 2001). embryos, which apparently lack generalized responses to Although the functions of these diverse RNAs remain dsRNA (Svoboda et al. 2000; Wianny and Zernicka- mysterious, it seems likely that they, like let-7 and lin-4, Goetz 2000). Indeed, microinjection of dsRNA into are transcribed as hairpin RNA precursors, which are mouse zygotes could specifically silence both exogenous processed to their mature forms by Dicer (Lee and Am- reporters and endogenous genes to create anticipated bros 2001; E. Bernstein, unpubl.). phenotypes. Subsequently, these observations were ex- Since the realization that small, endogenously en- tended to embryonic cell lines, such as embryonic stem coded hairpin RNAs could regulate gene expression via cells and embryonal carcinoma cells, which do not show elements of the RNAi machinery, we have sought to generic translational repression in response to dsRNA exploit this biological mechanism for the regulation of (Billy et al. 2001; Yang et al. 2001; Paddison et al. 2002). desired target genes. Here we show that short hairpin However, restriction of conventional RNAi to these few RNAs (shRNAs) can induce sequence-specific gene si- embryonic and cell culture systems would place a sig- lencing in mammalian cells. As is normally done with nificant limitation on the utility of this approach in siRNAs, silencing can be provoked by transfecting exog- mammals. enously synthesized hairpins into cells. However, silenc- Tuschl and colleagues first showed that short RNA ing can also be triggered by endogenous expression of duplexes, designed to mimic the products of the Dicer shRNAs. This observation opens the door to the produc- enzyme, could trigger RNA interference in vitro in Dro- tion of continuous cells lines in which RNAi is used to sophila embryo extracts (Tuschl et al. 1999; Elbashir et stably suppress gene expression in mammalian cells. al. 2001b,c). This observation was extended to mamma- Furthermore, similar approaches should prove effica- lian somatic cells by Tuschl and coworkers (Elbashir et cious in the creation of transgenic animals and poten- al. 2001a) and by Fire and colleagues (Caplen et al. 2001), tially in therapeutic strategies in which long-term sup- who showed that chemically synthesized siRNAs could pression of gene function is essential to produce a desired induce gene silencing in a wide range of human and effect. mouse cell lines. The use of synthetic siRNAs to tran- siently suppress the expression of target genes is quickly Results becoming a method of choice for probing gene function in mammalian cells. Short hairpin RNAs trigger gene silencing Dicer, the enzyme that normally produces siRNAs in in Drosophila cells vivo, has been linked to RNA interference both through biochemistry and through genetics (Bernstein et al. Several groups (Grishok et al. 2001; Hutvagner et al. 2001a; Grishok et al. 2001; Ketting et al. 2001; Knight 2001; Ketting et al. 2001; Knight and Bass 2001) have and Bass 2001). Indeed, C. elegans animals that lack shown that endogenous triggers of gene silencing, spe- Dicer are RNAi-deficient, at least in some tissues. How- cifically small temporal RNAs (stRNAs) let-7 and lin-4, ever, these animals also have additional phenotypic ab- function at least in part through RNAi pathways. Spe- normalities. Specifically, they are sterile and show a cifically, these small RNAs are encoded by hairpin pre- number of developmental abnormalities that typify al- cursors that are processed by Dicer into mature, ∼21-nt terations in developmental timing. Indeed, the pheno- forms. Moreover, genetic studies in C. elegans have shown a requirement for Argonaute-family proteins in types of the Dicer mutant animals were similar to those previously observed for animals carrying mutations in stRNA function. Specifically, alg-1 and alg-2, members the let-7 gene (Reinhart et al. 2000). of the EIF2c subfamily, are implicated both in stRNA The let-7 gene encodes a small, highly conserved RNA processing and in their downstream effector functions species that regulates the expression of endogenous pro- (Grishok et al. 2001). We have recently shown that a tein-coding genes during worm development. The active component of RISC, the effector nuclease of RNAi, is a RNA species is transcribed initially as an ∼70-nt precur- member of the Argonaute family, prompting a model in sor, which is posttranscriptionally processed into a ma- which stRNAs may function through RISC-like com- ture ∼21-nt form (Reinhart et al. 2000). Both in vitro and plexes, which regulate mRNA translation rather than in vivo data from C. elegans (Grishok et al. 2001; Ketting mRNA stability (Hammond et al. 2001a). et al. 2001; Knight and Bass 2001) and human cells We wished to test the possibility that we might retar- (Hutvagner et al. 2001) have pointed to Dicer as the en- get these small, endogenously encoded hairpin RNAs to zyme responsible for let-7 maturation and for the matu- regulate genes of choice with the ultimate goal of sub- GENES & DEVELOPMENT 949 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Paddison et al. verting this regulatory system for manipulating gene ex- imperfectly with their target substrates. A subset of pression stably in mammalian cell lines and in trans- these shRNAs is depicted in Figure 1A. genic animals. Whether triggered by long dsRNAs or by To permit rapid testing of large numbers of shRNA siRNAs, RNAi is generally more potent in the suppres- variants and quantitative comparison of the efficacy of sion of gene expression in Drosophila S2 cells than in suppression, we chose to use a dual-luciferase reporter mammalian cells. We therefore chose this model sys- system, as previously described for assays of RNAi in tem in which to test the efficacy of short hairpin RNAs both Drosophila extracts (Tuschl et al. 1999) and mam- (shRNAs) as inducers of gene silencing. malian cells (Caplen et al. 2001; Elbashir et al. 2001a). Neither stRNAs nor the broader group of miRNAs Cotransfection of firefly and Renilla luciferase reporter that has recently been discovered form perfect hairpin plasmids with either long dsRNAs or with siRNAs ho- structures. Indeed, each of these RNAs is predicted to mologous to the firefly luciferase gene yielded an ∼95% contain several bulged nucleotides within their rather suppression of firefly luciferase without effect on Renilla short (∼30-nt) stem structures. Because the position and luciferase (Fig. 1B; data not shown). Firefly luciferase character of these bulged nucleotides have been con- could also be specifically silenced by cotransfection with served throughout evolution and among at least a subset homologous shRNAs. Surprisingly, those shRNAs mod- of miRNAs, we sought to design retargeted miRNA eled most closely on the let-7 paradigm were the least mimics to conserve these predicted structural features. effective inducers of silencing (data not shown). The in- Only the let-7 and lin-4 miRNAs have known mRNA clusion of bulged nucleotides within the shRNA stem targets (Wightman et al. 1993; Slack et al. 2000). In both caused only a modest reduction in potency; however, the cases, pairing to binding sites within the regulated tran- presence of mismatches with respect to the target scripts is imperfect, and in the case of lin-4, the presence mRNA essentially abolished silencing potential. The of a bulged nucleotide is critical to suppression (Ha et al. most potent inhibitors were those composed of simple 1996). We therefore also designed shRNAs that paired hairpin structures with complete homology to the sub- Figure 1. Short hairpins suppress gene expression in Drosophila S2 cells. (A) Se- quences and predicted secondary structure of representative chemically synthesized RNAs. Sequences correspond to positions 112–134 (siRNA) and 463–491 (shRNAs) of Firefly luciferase carried on pGL3-Control. An siRNA targeted to position 463–485 of the luciferase sequence was virtually iden- tical to the 112–134 siRNA in suppressing expression, but is not shown. (B) Exog- enously supplied short hairpins suppress expression of the targeted Firefly lucifer- ase gene in vivo. Six-well plates of S2 cells were transfected with 250 ng/well of plas- mids that direct the expression of firefly and Renilla luciferase and 500 ng/well of the indicated RNA. Luciferase activities were assayed 48 h after transfection. Ra- tios of firefly to Renilla luciferase activity were normalized to a control transfected with an siRNA directed at the green fluo- rescent protein (GFP). The average of three independent experiments is shown; error bars indicate standard deviation. (C) Short hairpins are processed by the Drosophila Dicer enzyme. T7 transcribed hairpins shFfL22, shFfL29, and shFfS29 were incu- bated with (+) and without (−) 0–2-h Dro- sophila embryo extracts. Those incubated with extract produced ∼22-nt siRNAs, consistent with the ability of these hair- pins to induce RNA interference. A long dsRNA input (cyclin E 500-mer) was used as a control. Cleavage reactions were per- formed as described in Bernstein et al. (2001a). 950 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Stable silencing by RNAi strate. Introduction of G-U basepairs either within the S2 cells, we tested whether these RNAs could also in- stem or within the substrate recognition sequence had duce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells. little or no effect (Fig. 1A,B; data not shown). Similarly, Human embryonic kidney (HEK293T) cells were co- varying either the loop size from ∼4 to 23 bases or the transfected with chemically synthesized shRNAs and loop sequence (e.g., to mimic let-7) also proved neutral with a mixture of firefly and Renilla luciferase reporter (data not shown). plasmids. As had been observed in S2 cells, shRNAs were effective inducers of gene silencing. Once again, These results show that short hairpin RNAs can in- duce gene silencing in Drosophila S2 cells with potency hairpins designed to mimic let-7 were consistently less similar to that of siRNAs (Fig. 1B). However, in our ini- effective than were simple hairpin RNAs, and the intro- tial observation of RNA interference in Drosophila S2 duction of mismatches between the antisense strand of cells, we noted a profound dependence of the efficiency the shRNA and the mRNA target abolished silencing of silencing on the length of the dsRNA trigger (Ham- (Fig. 2A; data not shown). Overall, shRNAs were some- mond et al. 2000). Indeed, dsRNAs of fewer than ∼200 nt what less potent silencing triggers than were siRNAs. triggered silencing very inefficiently. Silencing is initi- Whereas siRNAs homologous to firefly luciferase rou- ated by an RNase III family nuclease, Dicer, that pro- tinely yielded ∼90%–95% suppression of gene expres- cesses long dsRNAs into ∼22-nt siRNAs. In accord with sion, suppression levels achieved with shRNAs ranged their varying potency as initiators of silencing, long dsR- from 80%–90% on average. As we also observe with siR- NAs are processed much more readily than short RNAs NAs, the most important determinant of the potency of by the Dicer enzyme (Bernstein et al. 2001a). We there- the silencing trigger is its sequence. We find that roughly fore tested whether shRNAs were substrates for the 50% of both siRNAs and shRNAs are competent for sup- Dicer enzyme. pressing gene expression. However, neither analysis of We had noted previously that let-7 (Ketting et al. 2001) the predicted structures of the target mRNA nor analysis and other miRNAs (E. Bernstein, unpubl.) are processed of alternative structures in siRNA duplexes or shRNA by Dicer with an unexpectedly high efficiency as com- hairpins has proved of predictive value for choosing ef- pared with short, nonhairpin dsRNAs. Similarly, Dicer fective inhibitors of gene expression. efficiently processed shRNAs that targeted firefly lucif- We have adopted as a standard, shRNA duplexes con- erase, irrespective of whether they were designed to taining 29 bp. However, the size of the helix can be re- mimic a natural Dicer substrate (let-7) or whether they duced to ∼25 nt without significant loss of potency. Du- were simple hairpin structures (Fig. 1C). These data sug- plexes as short as 22 bp can still provoke detectable si- gest that recombinant shRNAs can be processed by lencing, but do so less efficiently than do longer Dicer into siRNAs and are consistent with the idea that duplexes. In no case do we observe a reduction in the these short hairpins trigger gene silencing via an RNAi internal control reporter (Renilla luciferase) that would pathway. be consistent with an induction of nonspecific dsRNA responses. The ability of shRNAs to induce gene silencing was not confined to 293T cells. Similar results were also ob- Short hairpin activated gene silencing tained in a variety of other mammalian cell lines, includ- in mammalian cells ing human cancer cells (HeLa), transformed monkey ep- RNAi is developing into an increasingly powerful meth- ithelial cells (COS-1), murine fibroblasts (NIH 3T3), and odology for manipulating gene expression in diverse ex- diploid human fibroblasts (IMR90; Fig. 2; data not perimental systems. However, mammalian cells contain shown). several endogenous systems that were predicted to ham- per the application of RNAi. Chief among these is a Synthesis of effective inhibitors of gene expression dsRNA-activated protein kinase, PKR, which effects a using T7 RNA polymerase general suppression of translation via phosphorylation of EIF-2 (Williams 1997; Gil and Esteban 2000). Activa- The use of siRNAs to provoke gene silencing is develop- tion of these, and other dsRNA-responsive pathways, ing into a standard methodology for investigating gene function in mammalian cells. To date, siRNAs have generally requires duplexes exceeding 30 bp in length, possibly to permit dimerization of the enzyme on its been produced exclusively by chemical synthesis (e.g., allosteric activator (e.g., Clarke and Mathews 1995). Caplen et al. 2001; Elbashir et al. 2001a). However, the Small RNAs that mimic Dicer products, siRNAs, pre- costs associated with this approach are significant, lim- sumably escape this limit and trigger specific silencing, iting its potential utility as a tool for investigating in in part because of their size. However, short duplex parallel the functions of large numbers of genes. Short RNAs that lack signature features of siRNAs can effi- hairpin RNAs are presumably processed into active ciently induce silencing in Drosophila S2 cells but not in siRNAs in vivo by Dicer (see Fig. 1C). Thus, these may mammalian cells (A.A. Caudy, unpubl.). Endogenously be more tolerant of terminal structures, both with re- encoded miRNAs may also escape PKR surveillance be- spect to nucleotide overhangs and with respect to phos- cause of their size but perhaps also because of the dis- phate termini. We therefore tested whether shRNAs continuity of their duplex structure. Given that shRNAs could be prepared by in vitro transcription with T7 RNA of <30 bp were effective inducers of RNAi in Drosophila polymerase. GENES & DEVELOPMENT 951 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Paddison et al. Figure 2. Short hairpins function in mammalian cells. HEK 293T, HeLa, COS-1, and NIH 3T3 cells were transfected with plasmids and RNAs as in Figure 1 and subjected to dual luciferase assays 48 h posttransfection. The ratios of firefly to Renilla luciferase activity are normalized to a control transfected with an siRNA directed at the green fluorescent protein (GFP). The average of three indepen- dent experiments is shown; error bars indicate standard deviation. Transcription templates that were predicted to gener- cells or that a kinase efficiently phosphorylates siRNAs ate siRNAs and shRNAs similar to those prepared by in vivo. RNAs synthesized with T7 RNA polymerase, chemical RNA synthesis were prepared by DNA synthe- however, possess 5 triphosphate termini. We therefore sis (Fig. 3A,C). These were tested for efficacy both in S2 explored the possibility of synthesizing siRNAs with T7 cells (data not shown) and in human 293 cells (Fig. 3B,D). polymerase followed by treatment in vitro with pyro- Overall, the performance of the T7-synthesized hairpin phosphatase to modify the termini to resemble those of or siRNAs closely matched the performance of either siRNAs. Surprisingly, monophosphorylated siRNAs produced by chemical synthesis, both with respect to the (data not shown) were as potent in inducing gene silenc- magnitude of inhibition and with respect to the relative ing as transcription products bearing triphosphate ter- efficiency of differing sequences. Because T7 polymerase mini (Fig. 3B). This may suggest either that the require- prefers to initiate at twin guanosine residues, however, it ment for monophosphorylated termini is less stringent was critical to consider initiation context when design- in mammalian cells or that siRNAs are modified in vivo ing in vitro transcribed siRNAs (Fig. 3B). In contrast, to achieve an appropriate terminal structure. shRNAs, which are processed by Dicer (see Fig. 1C), tol- Considered together, our data suggest that both erate the addition of these bases at the 5 end of the shRNAs and siRNA duplexes can be prepared by synthe- transcript. sis with T7 RNA polymerase in vitro. This significantly Studies in Drosophila embryo extracts indicate that reduces the cost of RNAi in mammalian cells and paves siRNAs possess 5 phosphorylated termini, consistent the way for application of RNAi on a whole-genome with their production by an RNase III family nuclease scale. (Bernstein et al. 2001a; Elbashir et al. 2001b). In vitro, this terminus is critical to the induction of RNAi by synthetic RNA oligonucleotides (Elbashir et al. 2001c; Transcription of shRNAs in vivo by RNA Nykanen et al. 2001). Chemically synthesized siRNAs polymerase III are nonphosphorylated, and enzymatic addition of a 5 phosphate group in vitro prior to transfection does not Although siRNAs are an undeniably effective tool for increase the potency of the silencing effect (A.A. Caudy, probing gene function in mammalian cells, their sup- unpubl.). This suggests either that the requirement for pressive effects are by definition of limited duration. De- phosphorylated termini is less stringent in mammalian livery of siRNAs can be accomplished by any of a num- 952 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Stable silencing by RNAi Figure 3. siRNAs and short hairpins transcribed in vitro suppress gene expression in mammalian cells. (A) Sequences and predicted secondary structure of representative in vitro transcribed siRNAs. Sequences corre- spond to positions 112–134 (siRNA) and 463–491 (shRNAs) of firefly lu- ciferase carried on pGL3-Control. (B) In vitro transcribed siRNAs suppress expression of the targeted firefly luciferase gene in vivo. HEK 293T cells were transfected with plasmids as in Figure 2. The presence of non-base- paired guanosine residues at the 5 end of siRNAs significantly alters the predicted end structure and abolishes siRNA activity. (C) Sequences and predicted secondary structure of representative in vitro transcribed shR- NAs. Sequences correspond to positions 112–141 of firefly luciferase carried on pGL3-Control. (D) Short hairpins transcribed in vitro suppress expression of the targeted firefly luciferase gene in vivo. HEK 293T cells were transfected with plasmids as in Figure 2. ber of transient transfection methodologies, and both the opment of continuous cell lines in which the expression timing of peak suppression and the recovery of protein of a desired target is stably silenced. levels as silencing decays can vary with both the cell Hairpin RNAs, consisting of long duplex structures, type and the target gene (Y. Seger and E. Bernstein, un- have been proved as effective triggers of stable gene si- publ.). Therefore, one limitation on siRNAs is the devel- lencing in plants, in C. elegans, and in Drosophila (Ken- GENES & DEVELOPMENT 953 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Paddison et al. nerdell and Carthew 2000; Smith et al. 2000; Tavernara- lian RNAi pathway, we assessed the dependence of sup- kis et al. 2000). We have recently shown stable suppres- pression on an essential component of the RNAi path- sion of gene expression in cultured mammalian cells by way. We transfected pShh1-Ff1 along with an siRNA ho- continuous expression of a long hairpin RNA (Paddison mologous to human Dicer. Figure 5 shows that et al. 2002). However, the scope of this approach was treatment of cells with Dicer siRNAs is able to com- limited by the necessity of expressing such hairpins only pletely depress the silencing induced by pShh1-Ff1. Ad- dition of an unrelated siRNA had no effect on the mag- in cells that lack a detectable PKR response. In principle, shRNAs could bypass such limitations and provide a nitude of suppression by pShh1-Ff1 (data not shown). Im- tool for evoking stable suppression by RNA in mamma- portantly, Dicer siRNAs had no effect on siRNA-induced lian somatic cells. silencing of firefly luciferase (data not shown). These re- To test this possibility, we initially cloned sequences sults are consistent with shRNAs operating via an RNAi encoding a firefly luciferase shRNA into a CMV-based pathway similar to those provoked by stRNAs and long expression plasmid. This was predicted to generate a dsRNAs. Furthermore, it suggests that siRNA-mediated capped, polyadenylated RNA polymerase II transcript in silencing is less sensitive to depletion of the Dicer en- which the hairpin was extended on both the 5 and 3 zyme. ends by vector sequences and poly(A). This construct The ultimate utility of encoded short hairpins will be was completely inert in silencing assays in 293T cells in the creation of stable mutants that permit the study of (data not shown). the resulting phenotypes. We therefore tested whether During our studies on chemically and T7-synthesized we could create a cellular phenotype through stable sup- shRNAs, we noted that the presence of significant pression. Expression of activated alleles of the ras onco- single-stranded extensions (either 5 or 3 of the duplex) gene in primary mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) in- reduced the efficacy of shRNAs (data not shown). We duces a stable growth arrest that resembles, as a terminal therefore explored the use of alternative promoter strat- phenotype, replicative senescence (Serrano et al. 1997). egies in an effort to produce more defined hairpin RNAs. Cells cease dividing and assume a typical large, flattened In particular, RNA polymerase III promoters have well- morphology. Senescence can be countered by mutations defined initiation and termination sites and naturally that inactivate the p53 tumor suppressor pathway (Ser- produce a variety of small, stable RNA species. Although rano et al. 1997). As a test of the ability of vector-encoded many Pol III promoters contain essential elements shRNAs to stably suppress an endogenous cellular gene, within the transcribed region, limiting their utility for we generated a hairpin that was targeted to the mouse our purposes; class III promoters use exclusively non- p53 gene. As shown in Figure 6, MEFs transfected with transcribed promoter sequences. Of these, the U6 pBabe-RasV12 fail to proliferate and show a senescent snRNA promoter and the H1 RNA promoter have been morphology when cotransfected with an empty control well studied (Lobo et al. 1990; Hannon et al. 1991; Chong vector. As noted previously (Serrano et al. 1997), the ter- et al. 2001). minally arrested state is achieved in 100% of drug-se- By placing a convenient cloning site immediately be- lected cells in culture by 8 d posttransfection. However, hind the U6 snRNA promoter, we have constructed upon cotransfection of an activated ras expression con- pShh-1, an expression vector in which short hairpins are struct with the pShh-p53, cells emerged from drug selec- harnessed for gene silencing. Into this vector either of tion that not only fail to adopt a senescent morphology two shRNA sequences derived from firefly luciferase but also maintain the ability to proliferate for a mini- were cloned from synthetic oligonucleotides. These mum of several weeks in culture (Fig. 6). These data were cotransfected with firefly and Renilla luciferase ex- strongly suggest that shRNA expression constructs can pression plasmids into 293T cells. One of the two en- be used for the creation of continuous mammalian cell coded shRNAs provoked effective silencing of firefly lu- lines in which selected target genes are stably sup- ciferase without altering the expression of the internal pressed. control (Fig. 4C). The second encoded shRNA also pro- duced detectable, albeit weak, repression. In both cases, Discussion silencing was dependent on insertion of the shRNA in The demonstration that short dsRNA duplexes can in- the correct orientation with respect to the promoter (Fig. 4C; data not shown). Although the shRNA itself is bilat- duce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells has erally symmetric, insertion in the incorrect orientation begun to foment a revolution in the manner in which would affect Pol III termination and is predicted to pro- gene function is examined in cultured mammalian cells. duce a hairpin with both 5 and 3 single-stranded exten- These siRNAs (Elbashir et al. 2001a) mimic the products sions. Similar results were also obtained in a number of generated by Dicer (Bernstein et al. 2001a) in the initia- other mammalian cell lines including HeLa, COS-1, NIH tion step of RNAi and presumably enter the silencing 3T3, and IMR90 (Fig. 4; data not shown). pShh1-Ff1 was, pathway without triggering nonspecific translational however, incapable of effecting suppression of the lucif- suppression via PKR. siRNAs can be used to examine the erase reporter in Drosophila cells, in which the human consequences of reducing the function of virtually any U6 promoter is inactive (data not shown). protein-coding gene and have proved effective in provok- As a definitive test of whether the plasmid-encoded ing relevant phenotypes in numerous somatic cell types shRNAs brought about gene silencing via the mamma- from both humans and mice. However, a significant dis- 954 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Stable silencing by RNAi Figure 4. Transcription of functional shRNAs in vivo. (A) Schematic of the pShh1 vector. Sequences encoding shRNAs with between 19 and 29 bases of homology to the targeted gene are synthesized as 60–75-bp double-stranded DNA oligonucleotides and ligated into an EcoRV site immediately downstream of the U6 promoter. (B) Sequence and predicted secondary structure of the Ff1 hairpin. (C)An shRNA expressed from the pShh1 vector suppresses luciferase expression in mammalian cells. HEK 293T, HeLa, COS-1, and NIH 3T3 cells were transfected with reporter plasmids as in Figure 1, and pShh1 vector, firefly siRNA, or pShh1 firefly shRNA constructs as indicated. The ratios of firefly to Renilla luciferase activity were determined 48 h after transfection and represent the average of three independent experiments; error bars indicate standard deviation. advantage of siRNAs is that their effects are transient, throughout the development and life of an animal. We with phenotypes generated by transfection with such have therefore sought to expand the utility of RNAi in RNAs persisting for ∼1 wk. In C. elegans, RNAi has mammalian systems by devising methods to induce proved to be such a powerful tool, in part, because si- stable and heritable gene silencing. Previously, we have lencing is both systemic and heritable, permitting the shown that expression of long (∼500-nt) dsRNAs could consequences of altering gene expression to be examined produce stable silencing in embryonic mammalian cells GENES & DEVELOPMENT 955 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Paddison et al. RNAs, modeled conceptually on miRNAs, are potent ex- perimental tools for inducing gene silencing in mamma- lian somatic cells. These shRNAs can be provided exog- enously or can be synthesized in vivo from RNA poly- merase III promoters. Not only does this enable the creation of continuous cell lines in which suppression of a target gene is stably maintained by RNAi, but similar strategies may also be useful for the construction of transgenic animals. Thus, short-hairpin-activated gene silencing (SHAGging) provides a complement to the use of siRNAs in the study of gene function in mammalian Figure 5. Dicer is required for shRNA-mediated gene silenc- cells. Finally, the ability to encode a constitutive silenc- ing. HEK 293T cells were transfected with luciferase reporter ing signal may permit the marriage of shRNA-induced plasmids as well as pShh1-Ff1 and an siRNA targeting human silencing with in vivo and ex vivo gene delivery methods Dicer either alone or in combination, as indicated. The Dicer for therapeutic approaches based on stable RNAi in hu- siRNA sequence (TCA ACC AGC CAC TGC TGG A) corre- mans. sponds to coordinates 3137–3155 of the human Dicer sequence. The ratios of firefly to Renilla luciferase activity were deter- mined 26 h after transfection and represent the average of three Materials and methods independent experiments; error bars indicate standard devia- tion. Cell culture HEK 293T, HeLa, COS-1, MEF, and IMR90 cells were cultured (Paddison et al. 2002); however, the utility of this ap- in DMEM (GIBCO BRL) supplemented with 10% heat-inacti- vated fetal bovine serum (FBS) and 1% antibiotic/antimycotic proach was limited by its restriction to cells that lack solution (GIBCO BRL). NIH 3T3 cells were cultured in DMEM endogenous, nonspecific responses to dsRNA, such as supplemented with 10% heat-inactivated calf serum and 1% PKR. antibiotic/antimycotic solution. Recently, a number of laboratories (Grishok et al. 2001; Hutvagner et al. 2001; Ketting et al. 2001; Knight RNA preparation and Bass 2001) have shown that there exist endogenously encoded triggers of RNAi-related pathways, which are Both shRNAs and siRNAs were produced in vitro using chemi- transcribed as short hairpin RNAs (stRNAs, or generi- cally synthesized DNA oligonucleotide templates (Sigma) and cally miRNAs). Here, we have shown that short hairpin the T7 Megashortscript kit (Ambion). Transcription templates Figure 6. Stable shRNA-mediated gene silencing of an endogenous gene. (A) Sequence and predicted sec- ondary structure of the p53 hairpin. The 5 shRNA stem contains a 27-nt sequence derived from mouse p53 (nucleotides 166–192), whereas the 3 stem har- bors the complimentary antisense sequence. (B) Se- nescence bypass in primary mouse embryo fibro- blasts (MEFs) expressing an shRNA targeted at p53. Wild-type MEFs, passage 5, were transfected with pBabe-RasV12 with control plasmid or with p53hp (5 µg each with FuGENE; Roche). Two days after transfection, cells were trypsinized, counted, and plated at a density of 1 × 10 /10-cm plate in media containing 2.0 µg/mL of puromycin. Control cells cease proliferation and show a senescent morphol- ogy (left panel). Cells expressing the p53 hairpin con- tinue to grow (right panel). Photos were taken 14 d posttransfection. 956 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Stable silencing by RNAi were designed such that they contained T7 promoter sequences Howard Hughes Medical Institute. G.J.H. is a Rita Allen Foun- at the 5 end. shRNA transcripts subjected to in vitro Dicer dation scholar. This work was supported in part by a grant from processing were synthesized using a Riboprobe kit (Promega). the NIH (RO1-GM62534, GJH) and by a grant from Genetica, Chemically synthesized RNAs were obtained from Dharmacon, Inc. (Cambridge, MA). Inc. The publication costs of this article were defrayed in part by payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 USC section Transfection and gene silencing assays 1734 solely to indicate this fact. Cells were transfected with indicated amounts of siRNA, shRNA, and plasmid DNA using standard calcium phosphate procedures at 50%–70% confluence in 6-well plates. Dual lu- References ciferase assays (Promega) were carried out by cotransfecting Bernstein, E., Caudy, A.A., Hammond, S.M., and Hannon, G.J. cells with plasmids containing firefly luciferase under the con- 2001a. Role for a bidentate ribonuclease in the initiation step trol of the SV40 promoter (pGL3-Control, Promega) and Renilla of RNA interference. Nature 409: 363–366. luciferase under the control of the SV40 early enhancer/pro- Bernstein, E., Denli, A.M., and Hannon, G.J. 2001b. The rest is moter region (pSV40, Promega). Plasmids were cotransfected silence. RNA 7: 1509–1521. using a 1:1 ratio of pGL3-Control (250 ng/well) to pRL-SV40. Billy, E., Brondani, V., Zhang, H., Muller, U., and Filipowicz, W. RNAi in S2 cells was performed as previously described (Ham- 2001. Specific interference with gene expression induced by mond et al. 2000). For stable silencing, primary MEFs (a gift long, double-stranded RNA in mouse embryonal teratocar- from S. Lowe, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY) were co- cinoma cell lines. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 98: 14428–14433. transfected using Fugene 6 with pBabe-Ha-rasV12 and pShh-p53 Caplen, N.J., Parrish, S., Imani, F., Fire, A., and Morgan, R.A. (no resistance marker), according to the manufacturer’s recom- 2001. Specific inhibition of gene expression by small double- mendations. Selection was for the presence of the activated Ha- stranded RNAs in invertebrate and vertebrate systems. Proc. rasV12 plasmid, which carries a puromycin-resistance marker. Natl. Acad. Sci. 98: 9742–9747. The pShh-p53 plasmid was present in excess, as is standard in a Chong, S.S., Hu, P., and Hernandez, N. 2001. Reconstitution of cotransfection experiment. 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School of Biological Sciences and a predoctoral fellow of the Hammond, S.M., Bernstein, E., Beach, D., and Hannon, G.J. GENES & DEVELOPMENT 957 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Paddison et al. 2000. An RNA-directed nuclease mediates post-transcrip- Svoboda, P., Stein, P., Hayashi, H., and Schultz, R.M. 2000. tional gene silencing in Drosophila cells. Nature 404: 293– Selective reduction of dormant maternal mRNAs in mouse 296. oocytes by RNA interference. Development 127: 4147–4156. Hammond, S.M., Boettcher, S., Caudy, A.A., Kobayashi, R., and Tavernarakis, N., Wang, S.L., Dorovkov, M., Ryazanov, A., and Hannon, G.J. 2001a. Argonaute2, a link between genetic and Driscoll, M. 2000. Heritable and inducible genetic interfer- biochemical analyses of RNAi. Science 293: 1146–1150. ence by double-stranded RNA encoded by transgenes. Nat. Hammond, S.M., Caudy, A.A., and Hannon, G.J. 2001b. 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Nature 407: 319–320. 958 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) induce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells Patrick J. Paddison, Amy A. Caudy, Emily Bernstein, et al. Genes Dev. 2002, 16: Access the most recent version at doi:10.1101/gad.981002 This article cites 40 articles, 22 of which can be accessed free at: References http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/16/8/948.full.html#ref-list-1 License Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top right corner Email Alerting of the article or click here. Service Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Genes & Development Unpaywall

Short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) induce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells

Genes & DevelopmentApr 15, 2002

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Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) induce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells 1 1 2,3 1,2,4 Patrick J. Paddison, Amy A. Caudy, Emily Bernstein, Gregory J. Hannon, and Douglas S. Conklin 1 2 Watson School of Biological Sciences, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA; Graduate Program in Genetics, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA RNA interference (RNAi) was first recognized in Caenorhabditis elegans as a biological response to exogenous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which induces sequence-specific gene silencing. RNAi represents a conserved regulatory motif, which is present in a wide range of eukaryotic organisms. Recently, we and others have shown that endogenously encoded triggers of gene silencing act through elements of the RNAi machinery to regulate the expression of protein-coding genes. These small temporal RNAs (stRNAs) are transcribed as short hairpin precursors (∼70 nt), processed into active, 21-nt RNAs by Dicer, and recognize target mRNAs via base-pairing interactions. Here, we show that short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) can be engineered to suppress the expression of desired genes in cultured Drosophila and mammalian cells. shRNAs can be synthesized exogenously or can be transcribed from RNA polymerase III promoters in vivo, thus permitting the construction of continuous cell lines or transgenic animals in which RNAi enforces stable and heritable gene silencing. [Key Words: RNAi; gene silencing; miRNA; shRNA; siRNA] Received January 31, 2002; revised version accepted March 8, 2002. An understanding of the biological role of any gene a method for suppressing gene expression in worms. comes only after observing the phenotypic consequences Through these efforts, they found that double-stranded of altering the function of that gene in a living cell or RNA (dsRNA) was much more effective than antisense organism. In many cases, those organisms for which con- RNA as an inducer of gene silencing. Subsequent studies venient methodologies for genetic manipulation exist have shown that RNAi is a conserved biological response blaze the trail toward an understanding of similar genes that is present in many, if not most, eukaryotic organ- in less tractable organisms, such as mammals. The ad- isms (for review, see Bernstein et al. 2001b; Hammond et vent of RNA interference (RNAi) as an investigational al. 2001b). tool has shown the potential to democratize at least one As a result of biochemical and genetic approaches in aspect of genetic manipulation, the creation of hypomor- several experimental systems, the mechanisms underly- phic alleles, in organisms ranging from unicellular para- ing RNAi have begun to unfold (for review, see Bernstein sites (e.g., Shi et al. 2000) to mammals (Svoboda et al. et al. 2001b; Hammond et al. 2001b). These suggest the 2000; Wianny and Zernicka-Goetz 2000). existence of a conserved machinery for dsRNA-induced Although Caenorhabditis elegans has, for some time, gene silencing, which proceeds via a two-step mecha- been well developed as a forward genetic system, the nism. In the first step, the dsRNA silencing trigger is lack of methodologies for gene replacement by homolo- recognized by an RNase III family nuclease called Dicer, gous recombination presented a barrier to assessing rap- which cleaves the dsRNA into ∼21–23-nt siRNAs (small idly the consequences of loss of function in known interfering RNAs). These siRNAs are incorporated into a genes. In an effort to overcome this limitation, Mello and multicomponent nuclease complex, RISC, which identi- Fire (Fire et al. 1998), building on earlier studies (Guo and fies substrates through their homology to siRNAs and Kemphues 1995), probed the utility of antisense RNA as targets these cognate mRNAs for destruction. Although it was clear from the outset that RNAi would prove a powerful tool for manipulating gene ex- pression in invertebrates, there were several potential Corresponding author. impediments to the use of this approach in mammalian E-MAIL hannon@cshl.org; FAX (516) 367-8874. cells. Most mammalian cells harbor a potent antiviral Article and publication are at http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/doi/10.1101/ gad.981002. response that is triggered by the presence of dsRNA viral 948 GENES & DEVELOPMENT 16:948–958 © 2002 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press ISSN 0890-9369/02 $5.00; www.genesdev.org Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Stable silencing by RNAi replication intermediates. A key component of this re- ration of a similar small RNA, lin-4 (Grishok et al. 2001). sponse is a dsRNA-activated protein kinase, PKR, which Thus, at least some components of the RNAi machinery phosphorylates EIF-2, inducing, in turn, a generalized respond to endogenously encoded triggers to regulate the inhibition of translation (for review, see Williams 1997; expression of target genes. Gil and Esteban 2000). In addition, dsRNA activates the Recent studies have placed let-7 and lin-4 as the found- 25 oligoadenylate polymerase/RNase L system and re- ing members of a potentially very large group of small RNAs known generically as micro-RNAs (miRNAs). presses IB. The ultimate outcome of this set of re- sponses is cell death via apoptosis. Nearly 100 potential miRNAs have now been identified Therefore, it came as a welcome surprise that dsRNA in Drosophila, C. elegans, and mammals (Lagos-Quin- could induce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian tana et al. 2001; Lau et al. 2001; Lee and Ambros 2001). embryos, which apparently lack generalized responses to Although the functions of these diverse RNAs remain dsRNA (Svoboda et al. 2000; Wianny and Zernicka- mysterious, it seems likely that they, like let-7 and lin-4, Goetz 2000). Indeed, microinjection of dsRNA into are transcribed as hairpin RNA precursors, which are mouse zygotes could specifically silence both exogenous processed to their mature forms by Dicer (Lee and Am- reporters and endogenous genes to create anticipated bros 2001; E. Bernstein, unpubl.). phenotypes. Subsequently, these observations were ex- Since the realization that small, endogenously en- tended to embryonic cell lines, such as embryonic stem coded hairpin RNAs could regulate gene expression via cells and embryonal carcinoma cells, which do not show elements of the RNAi machinery, we have sought to generic translational repression in response to dsRNA exploit this biological mechanism for the regulation of (Billy et al. 2001; Yang et al. 2001; Paddison et al. 2002). desired target genes. Here we show that short hairpin However, restriction of conventional RNAi to these few RNAs (shRNAs) can induce sequence-specific gene si- embryonic and cell culture systems would place a sig- lencing in mammalian cells. As is normally done with nificant limitation on the utility of this approach in siRNAs, silencing can be provoked by transfecting exog- mammals. enously synthesized hairpins into cells. However, silenc- Tuschl and colleagues first showed that short RNA ing can also be triggered by endogenous expression of duplexes, designed to mimic the products of the Dicer shRNAs. This observation opens the door to the produc- enzyme, could trigger RNA interference in vitro in Dro- tion of continuous cells lines in which RNAi is used to sophila embryo extracts (Tuschl et al. 1999; Elbashir et stably suppress gene expression in mammalian cells. al. 2001b,c). This observation was extended to mamma- Furthermore, similar approaches should prove effica- lian somatic cells by Tuschl and coworkers (Elbashir et cious in the creation of transgenic animals and poten- al. 2001a) and by Fire and colleagues (Caplen et al. 2001), tially in therapeutic strategies in which long-term sup- who showed that chemically synthesized siRNAs could pression of gene function is essential to produce a desired induce gene silencing in a wide range of human and effect. mouse cell lines. The use of synthetic siRNAs to tran- siently suppress the expression of target genes is quickly Results becoming a method of choice for probing gene function in mammalian cells. Short hairpin RNAs trigger gene silencing Dicer, the enzyme that normally produces siRNAs in in Drosophila cells vivo, has been linked to RNA interference both through biochemistry and through genetics (Bernstein et al. Several groups (Grishok et al. 2001; Hutvagner et al. 2001a; Grishok et al. 2001; Ketting et al. 2001; Knight 2001; Ketting et al. 2001; Knight and Bass 2001) have and Bass 2001). Indeed, C. elegans animals that lack shown that endogenous triggers of gene silencing, spe- Dicer are RNAi-deficient, at least in some tissues. How- cifically small temporal RNAs (stRNAs) let-7 and lin-4, ever, these animals also have additional phenotypic ab- function at least in part through RNAi pathways. Spe- normalities. Specifically, they are sterile and show a cifically, these small RNAs are encoded by hairpin pre- number of developmental abnormalities that typify al- cursors that are processed by Dicer into mature, ∼21-nt terations in developmental timing. Indeed, the pheno- forms. Moreover, genetic studies in C. elegans have shown a requirement for Argonaute-family proteins in types of the Dicer mutant animals were similar to those previously observed for animals carrying mutations in stRNA function. Specifically, alg-1 and alg-2, members the let-7 gene (Reinhart et al. 2000). of the EIF2c subfamily, are implicated both in stRNA The let-7 gene encodes a small, highly conserved RNA processing and in their downstream effector functions species that regulates the expression of endogenous pro- (Grishok et al. 2001). We have recently shown that a tein-coding genes during worm development. The active component of RISC, the effector nuclease of RNAi, is a RNA species is transcribed initially as an ∼70-nt precur- member of the Argonaute family, prompting a model in sor, which is posttranscriptionally processed into a ma- which stRNAs may function through RISC-like com- ture ∼21-nt form (Reinhart et al. 2000). Both in vitro and plexes, which regulate mRNA translation rather than in vivo data from C. elegans (Grishok et al. 2001; Ketting mRNA stability (Hammond et al. 2001a). et al. 2001; Knight and Bass 2001) and human cells We wished to test the possibility that we might retar- (Hutvagner et al. 2001) have pointed to Dicer as the en- get these small, endogenously encoded hairpin RNAs to zyme responsible for let-7 maturation and for the matu- regulate genes of choice with the ultimate goal of sub- GENES & DEVELOPMENT 949 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Paddison et al. verting this regulatory system for manipulating gene ex- imperfectly with their target substrates. A subset of pression stably in mammalian cell lines and in trans- these shRNAs is depicted in Figure 1A. genic animals. Whether triggered by long dsRNAs or by To permit rapid testing of large numbers of shRNA siRNAs, RNAi is generally more potent in the suppres- variants and quantitative comparison of the efficacy of sion of gene expression in Drosophila S2 cells than in suppression, we chose to use a dual-luciferase reporter mammalian cells. We therefore chose this model sys- system, as previously described for assays of RNAi in tem in which to test the efficacy of short hairpin RNAs both Drosophila extracts (Tuschl et al. 1999) and mam- (shRNAs) as inducers of gene silencing. malian cells (Caplen et al. 2001; Elbashir et al. 2001a). Neither stRNAs nor the broader group of miRNAs Cotransfection of firefly and Renilla luciferase reporter that has recently been discovered form perfect hairpin plasmids with either long dsRNAs or with siRNAs ho- structures. Indeed, each of these RNAs is predicted to mologous to the firefly luciferase gene yielded an ∼95% contain several bulged nucleotides within their rather suppression of firefly luciferase without effect on Renilla short (∼30-nt) stem structures. Because the position and luciferase (Fig. 1B; data not shown). Firefly luciferase character of these bulged nucleotides have been con- could also be specifically silenced by cotransfection with served throughout evolution and among at least a subset homologous shRNAs. Surprisingly, those shRNAs mod- of miRNAs, we sought to design retargeted miRNA eled most closely on the let-7 paradigm were the least mimics to conserve these predicted structural features. effective inducers of silencing (data not shown). The in- Only the let-7 and lin-4 miRNAs have known mRNA clusion of bulged nucleotides within the shRNA stem targets (Wightman et al. 1993; Slack et al. 2000). In both caused only a modest reduction in potency; however, the cases, pairing to binding sites within the regulated tran- presence of mismatches with respect to the target scripts is imperfect, and in the case of lin-4, the presence mRNA essentially abolished silencing potential. The of a bulged nucleotide is critical to suppression (Ha et al. most potent inhibitors were those composed of simple 1996). We therefore also designed shRNAs that paired hairpin structures with complete homology to the sub- Figure 1. Short hairpins suppress gene expression in Drosophila S2 cells. (A) Se- quences and predicted secondary structure of representative chemically synthesized RNAs. Sequences correspond to positions 112–134 (siRNA) and 463–491 (shRNAs) of Firefly luciferase carried on pGL3-Control. An siRNA targeted to position 463–485 of the luciferase sequence was virtually iden- tical to the 112–134 siRNA in suppressing expression, but is not shown. (B) Exog- enously supplied short hairpins suppress expression of the targeted Firefly lucifer- ase gene in vivo. Six-well plates of S2 cells were transfected with 250 ng/well of plas- mids that direct the expression of firefly and Renilla luciferase and 500 ng/well of the indicated RNA. Luciferase activities were assayed 48 h after transfection. Ra- tios of firefly to Renilla luciferase activity were normalized to a control transfected with an siRNA directed at the green fluo- rescent protein (GFP). The average of three independent experiments is shown; error bars indicate standard deviation. (C) Short hairpins are processed by the Drosophila Dicer enzyme. T7 transcribed hairpins shFfL22, shFfL29, and shFfS29 were incu- bated with (+) and without (−) 0–2-h Dro- sophila embryo extracts. Those incubated with extract produced ∼22-nt siRNAs, consistent with the ability of these hair- pins to induce RNA interference. A long dsRNA input (cyclin E 500-mer) was used as a control. Cleavage reactions were per- formed as described in Bernstein et al. (2001a). 950 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Stable silencing by RNAi strate. Introduction of G-U basepairs either within the S2 cells, we tested whether these RNAs could also in- stem or within the substrate recognition sequence had duce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells. little or no effect (Fig. 1A,B; data not shown). Similarly, Human embryonic kidney (HEK293T) cells were co- varying either the loop size from ∼4 to 23 bases or the transfected with chemically synthesized shRNAs and loop sequence (e.g., to mimic let-7) also proved neutral with a mixture of firefly and Renilla luciferase reporter (data not shown). plasmids. As had been observed in S2 cells, shRNAs were effective inducers of gene silencing. Once again, These results show that short hairpin RNAs can in- duce gene silencing in Drosophila S2 cells with potency hairpins designed to mimic let-7 were consistently less similar to that of siRNAs (Fig. 1B). However, in our ini- effective than were simple hairpin RNAs, and the intro- tial observation of RNA interference in Drosophila S2 duction of mismatches between the antisense strand of cells, we noted a profound dependence of the efficiency the shRNA and the mRNA target abolished silencing of silencing on the length of the dsRNA trigger (Ham- (Fig. 2A; data not shown). Overall, shRNAs were some- mond et al. 2000). Indeed, dsRNAs of fewer than ∼200 nt what less potent silencing triggers than were siRNAs. triggered silencing very inefficiently. Silencing is initi- Whereas siRNAs homologous to firefly luciferase rou- ated by an RNase III family nuclease, Dicer, that pro- tinely yielded ∼90%–95% suppression of gene expres- cesses long dsRNAs into ∼22-nt siRNAs. In accord with sion, suppression levels achieved with shRNAs ranged their varying potency as initiators of silencing, long dsR- from 80%–90% on average. As we also observe with siR- NAs are processed much more readily than short RNAs NAs, the most important determinant of the potency of by the Dicer enzyme (Bernstein et al. 2001a). We there- the silencing trigger is its sequence. We find that roughly fore tested whether shRNAs were substrates for the 50% of both siRNAs and shRNAs are competent for sup- Dicer enzyme. pressing gene expression. However, neither analysis of We had noted previously that let-7 (Ketting et al. 2001) the predicted structures of the target mRNA nor analysis and other miRNAs (E. Bernstein, unpubl.) are processed of alternative structures in siRNA duplexes or shRNA by Dicer with an unexpectedly high efficiency as com- hairpins has proved of predictive value for choosing ef- pared with short, nonhairpin dsRNAs. Similarly, Dicer fective inhibitors of gene expression. efficiently processed shRNAs that targeted firefly lucif- We have adopted as a standard, shRNA duplexes con- erase, irrespective of whether they were designed to taining 29 bp. However, the size of the helix can be re- mimic a natural Dicer substrate (let-7) or whether they duced to ∼25 nt without significant loss of potency. Du- were simple hairpin structures (Fig. 1C). These data sug- plexes as short as 22 bp can still provoke detectable si- gest that recombinant shRNAs can be processed by lencing, but do so less efficiently than do longer Dicer into siRNAs and are consistent with the idea that duplexes. In no case do we observe a reduction in the these short hairpins trigger gene silencing via an RNAi internal control reporter (Renilla luciferase) that would pathway. be consistent with an induction of nonspecific dsRNA responses. The ability of shRNAs to induce gene silencing was not confined to 293T cells. Similar results were also ob- Short hairpin activated gene silencing tained in a variety of other mammalian cell lines, includ- in mammalian cells ing human cancer cells (HeLa), transformed monkey ep- RNAi is developing into an increasingly powerful meth- ithelial cells (COS-1), murine fibroblasts (NIH 3T3), and odology for manipulating gene expression in diverse ex- diploid human fibroblasts (IMR90; Fig. 2; data not perimental systems. However, mammalian cells contain shown). several endogenous systems that were predicted to ham- per the application of RNAi. Chief among these is a Synthesis of effective inhibitors of gene expression dsRNA-activated protein kinase, PKR, which effects a using T7 RNA polymerase general suppression of translation via phosphorylation of EIF-2 (Williams 1997; Gil and Esteban 2000). Activa- The use of siRNAs to provoke gene silencing is develop- tion of these, and other dsRNA-responsive pathways, ing into a standard methodology for investigating gene function in mammalian cells. To date, siRNAs have generally requires duplexes exceeding 30 bp in length, possibly to permit dimerization of the enzyme on its been produced exclusively by chemical synthesis (e.g., allosteric activator (e.g., Clarke and Mathews 1995). Caplen et al. 2001; Elbashir et al. 2001a). However, the Small RNAs that mimic Dicer products, siRNAs, pre- costs associated with this approach are significant, lim- sumably escape this limit and trigger specific silencing, iting its potential utility as a tool for investigating in in part because of their size. However, short duplex parallel the functions of large numbers of genes. Short RNAs that lack signature features of siRNAs can effi- hairpin RNAs are presumably processed into active ciently induce silencing in Drosophila S2 cells but not in siRNAs in vivo by Dicer (see Fig. 1C). Thus, these may mammalian cells (A.A. Caudy, unpubl.). Endogenously be more tolerant of terminal structures, both with re- encoded miRNAs may also escape PKR surveillance be- spect to nucleotide overhangs and with respect to phos- cause of their size but perhaps also because of the dis- phate termini. We therefore tested whether shRNAs continuity of their duplex structure. Given that shRNAs could be prepared by in vitro transcription with T7 RNA of <30 bp were effective inducers of RNAi in Drosophila polymerase. GENES & DEVELOPMENT 951 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Paddison et al. Figure 2. Short hairpins function in mammalian cells. HEK 293T, HeLa, COS-1, and NIH 3T3 cells were transfected with plasmids and RNAs as in Figure 1 and subjected to dual luciferase assays 48 h posttransfection. The ratios of firefly to Renilla luciferase activity are normalized to a control transfected with an siRNA directed at the green fluorescent protein (GFP). The average of three indepen- dent experiments is shown; error bars indicate standard deviation. Transcription templates that were predicted to gener- cells or that a kinase efficiently phosphorylates siRNAs ate siRNAs and shRNAs similar to those prepared by in vivo. RNAs synthesized with T7 RNA polymerase, chemical RNA synthesis were prepared by DNA synthe- however, possess 5 triphosphate termini. We therefore sis (Fig. 3A,C). These were tested for efficacy both in S2 explored the possibility of synthesizing siRNAs with T7 cells (data not shown) and in human 293 cells (Fig. 3B,D). polymerase followed by treatment in vitro with pyro- Overall, the performance of the T7-synthesized hairpin phosphatase to modify the termini to resemble those of or siRNAs closely matched the performance of either siRNAs. Surprisingly, monophosphorylated siRNAs produced by chemical synthesis, both with respect to the (data not shown) were as potent in inducing gene silenc- magnitude of inhibition and with respect to the relative ing as transcription products bearing triphosphate ter- efficiency of differing sequences. Because T7 polymerase mini (Fig. 3B). This may suggest either that the require- prefers to initiate at twin guanosine residues, however, it ment for monophosphorylated termini is less stringent was critical to consider initiation context when design- in mammalian cells or that siRNAs are modified in vivo ing in vitro transcribed siRNAs (Fig. 3B). In contrast, to achieve an appropriate terminal structure. shRNAs, which are processed by Dicer (see Fig. 1C), tol- Considered together, our data suggest that both erate the addition of these bases at the 5 end of the shRNAs and siRNA duplexes can be prepared by synthe- transcript. sis with T7 RNA polymerase in vitro. This significantly Studies in Drosophila embryo extracts indicate that reduces the cost of RNAi in mammalian cells and paves siRNAs possess 5 phosphorylated termini, consistent the way for application of RNAi on a whole-genome with their production by an RNase III family nuclease scale. (Bernstein et al. 2001a; Elbashir et al. 2001b). In vitro, this terminus is critical to the induction of RNAi by synthetic RNA oligonucleotides (Elbashir et al. 2001c; Transcription of shRNAs in vivo by RNA Nykanen et al. 2001). Chemically synthesized siRNAs polymerase III are nonphosphorylated, and enzymatic addition of a 5 phosphate group in vitro prior to transfection does not Although siRNAs are an undeniably effective tool for increase the potency of the silencing effect (A.A. Caudy, probing gene function in mammalian cells, their sup- unpubl.). This suggests either that the requirement for pressive effects are by definition of limited duration. De- phosphorylated termini is less stringent in mammalian livery of siRNAs can be accomplished by any of a num- 952 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Stable silencing by RNAi Figure 3. siRNAs and short hairpins transcribed in vitro suppress gene expression in mammalian cells. (A) Sequences and predicted secondary structure of representative in vitro transcribed siRNAs. Sequences corre- spond to positions 112–134 (siRNA) and 463–491 (shRNAs) of firefly lu- ciferase carried on pGL3-Control. (B) In vitro transcribed siRNAs suppress expression of the targeted firefly luciferase gene in vivo. HEK 293T cells were transfected with plasmids as in Figure 2. The presence of non-base- paired guanosine residues at the 5 end of siRNAs significantly alters the predicted end structure and abolishes siRNA activity. (C) Sequences and predicted secondary structure of representative in vitro transcribed shR- NAs. Sequences correspond to positions 112–141 of firefly luciferase carried on pGL3-Control. (D) Short hairpins transcribed in vitro suppress expression of the targeted firefly luciferase gene in vivo. HEK 293T cells were transfected with plasmids as in Figure 2. ber of transient transfection methodologies, and both the opment of continuous cell lines in which the expression timing of peak suppression and the recovery of protein of a desired target is stably silenced. levels as silencing decays can vary with both the cell Hairpin RNAs, consisting of long duplex structures, type and the target gene (Y. Seger and E. Bernstein, un- have been proved as effective triggers of stable gene si- publ.). Therefore, one limitation on siRNAs is the devel- lencing in plants, in C. elegans, and in Drosophila (Ken- GENES & DEVELOPMENT 953 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Paddison et al. nerdell and Carthew 2000; Smith et al. 2000; Tavernara- lian RNAi pathway, we assessed the dependence of sup- kis et al. 2000). We have recently shown stable suppres- pression on an essential component of the RNAi path- sion of gene expression in cultured mammalian cells by way. We transfected pShh1-Ff1 along with an siRNA ho- continuous expression of a long hairpin RNA (Paddison mologous to human Dicer. Figure 5 shows that et al. 2002). However, the scope of this approach was treatment of cells with Dicer siRNAs is able to com- limited by the necessity of expressing such hairpins only pletely depress the silencing induced by pShh1-Ff1. Ad- dition of an unrelated siRNA had no effect on the mag- in cells that lack a detectable PKR response. In principle, shRNAs could bypass such limitations and provide a nitude of suppression by pShh1-Ff1 (data not shown). Im- tool for evoking stable suppression by RNA in mamma- portantly, Dicer siRNAs had no effect on siRNA-induced lian somatic cells. silencing of firefly luciferase (data not shown). These re- To test this possibility, we initially cloned sequences sults are consistent with shRNAs operating via an RNAi encoding a firefly luciferase shRNA into a CMV-based pathway similar to those provoked by stRNAs and long expression plasmid. This was predicted to generate a dsRNAs. Furthermore, it suggests that siRNA-mediated capped, polyadenylated RNA polymerase II transcript in silencing is less sensitive to depletion of the Dicer en- which the hairpin was extended on both the 5 and 3 zyme. ends by vector sequences and poly(A). This construct The ultimate utility of encoded short hairpins will be was completely inert in silencing assays in 293T cells in the creation of stable mutants that permit the study of (data not shown). the resulting phenotypes. We therefore tested whether During our studies on chemically and T7-synthesized we could create a cellular phenotype through stable sup- shRNAs, we noted that the presence of significant pression. Expression of activated alleles of the ras onco- single-stranded extensions (either 5 or 3 of the duplex) gene in primary mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) in- reduced the efficacy of shRNAs (data not shown). We duces a stable growth arrest that resembles, as a terminal therefore explored the use of alternative promoter strat- phenotype, replicative senescence (Serrano et al. 1997). egies in an effort to produce more defined hairpin RNAs. Cells cease dividing and assume a typical large, flattened In particular, RNA polymerase III promoters have well- morphology. Senescence can be countered by mutations defined initiation and termination sites and naturally that inactivate the p53 tumor suppressor pathway (Ser- produce a variety of small, stable RNA species. Although rano et al. 1997). As a test of the ability of vector-encoded many Pol III promoters contain essential elements shRNAs to stably suppress an endogenous cellular gene, within the transcribed region, limiting their utility for we generated a hairpin that was targeted to the mouse our purposes; class III promoters use exclusively non- p53 gene. As shown in Figure 6, MEFs transfected with transcribed promoter sequences. Of these, the U6 pBabe-RasV12 fail to proliferate and show a senescent snRNA promoter and the H1 RNA promoter have been morphology when cotransfected with an empty control well studied (Lobo et al. 1990; Hannon et al. 1991; Chong vector. As noted previously (Serrano et al. 1997), the ter- et al. 2001). minally arrested state is achieved in 100% of drug-se- By placing a convenient cloning site immediately be- lected cells in culture by 8 d posttransfection. However, hind the U6 snRNA promoter, we have constructed upon cotransfection of an activated ras expression con- pShh-1, an expression vector in which short hairpins are struct with the pShh-p53, cells emerged from drug selec- harnessed for gene silencing. Into this vector either of tion that not only fail to adopt a senescent morphology two shRNA sequences derived from firefly luciferase but also maintain the ability to proliferate for a mini- were cloned from synthetic oligonucleotides. These mum of several weeks in culture (Fig. 6). These data were cotransfected with firefly and Renilla luciferase ex- strongly suggest that shRNA expression constructs can pression plasmids into 293T cells. One of the two en- be used for the creation of continuous mammalian cell coded shRNAs provoked effective silencing of firefly lu- lines in which selected target genes are stably sup- ciferase without altering the expression of the internal pressed. control (Fig. 4C). The second encoded shRNA also pro- duced detectable, albeit weak, repression. In both cases, Discussion silencing was dependent on insertion of the shRNA in The demonstration that short dsRNA duplexes can in- the correct orientation with respect to the promoter (Fig. 4C; data not shown). Although the shRNA itself is bilat- duce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells has erally symmetric, insertion in the incorrect orientation begun to foment a revolution in the manner in which would affect Pol III termination and is predicted to pro- gene function is examined in cultured mammalian cells. duce a hairpin with both 5 and 3 single-stranded exten- These siRNAs (Elbashir et al. 2001a) mimic the products sions. Similar results were also obtained in a number of generated by Dicer (Bernstein et al. 2001a) in the initia- other mammalian cell lines including HeLa, COS-1, NIH tion step of RNAi and presumably enter the silencing 3T3, and IMR90 (Fig. 4; data not shown). pShh1-Ff1 was, pathway without triggering nonspecific translational however, incapable of effecting suppression of the lucif- suppression via PKR. siRNAs can be used to examine the erase reporter in Drosophila cells, in which the human consequences of reducing the function of virtually any U6 promoter is inactive (data not shown). protein-coding gene and have proved effective in provok- As a definitive test of whether the plasmid-encoded ing relevant phenotypes in numerous somatic cell types shRNAs brought about gene silencing via the mamma- from both humans and mice. However, a significant dis- 954 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Stable silencing by RNAi Figure 4. Transcription of functional shRNAs in vivo. (A) Schematic of the pShh1 vector. Sequences encoding shRNAs with between 19 and 29 bases of homology to the targeted gene are synthesized as 60–75-bp double-stranded DNA oligonucleotides and ligated into an EcoRV site immediately downstream of the U6 promoter. (B) Sequence and predicted secondary structure of the Ff1 hairpin. (C)An shRNA expressed from the pShh1 vector suppresses luciferase expression in mammalian cells. HEK 293T, HeLa, COS-1, and NIH 3T3 cells were transfected with reporter plasmids as in Figure 1, and pShh1 vector, firefly siRNA, or pShh1 firefly shRNA constructs as indicated. The ratios of firefly to Renilla luciferase activity were determined 48 h after transfection and represent the average of three independent experiments; error bars indicate standard deviation. advantage of siRNAs is that their effects are transient, throughout the development and life of an animal. We with phenotypes generated by transfection with such have therefore sought to expand the utility of RNAi in RNAs persisting for ∼1 wk. In C. elegans, RNAi has mammalian systems by devising methods to induce proved to be such a powerful tool, in part, because si- stable and heritable gene silencing. Previously, we have lencing is both systemic and heritable, permitting the shown that expression of long (∼500-nt) dsRNAs could consequences of altering gene expression to be examined produce stable silencing in embryonic mammalian cells GENES & DEVELOPMENT 955 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Paddison et al. RNAs, modeled conceptually on miRNAs, are potent ex- perimental tools for inducing gene silencing in mamma- lian somatic cells. These shRNAs can be provided exog- enously or can be synthesized in vivo from RNA poly- merase III promoters. Not only does this enable the creation of continuous cell lines in which suppression of a target gene is stably maintained by RNAi, but similar strategies may also be useful for the construction of transgenic animals. Thus, short-hairpin-activated gene silencing (SHAGging) provides a complement to the use of siRNAs in the study of gene function in mammalian Figure 5. Dicer is required for shRNA-mediated gene silenc- cells. Finally, the ability to encode a constitutive silenc- ing. HEK 293T cells were transfected with luciferase reporter ing signal may permit the marriage of shRNA-induced plasmids as well as pShh1-Ff1 and an siRNA targeting human silencing with in vivo and ex vivo gene delivery methods Dicer either alone or in combination, as indicated. The Dicer for therapeutic approaches based on stable RNAi in hu- siRNA sequence (TCA ACC AGC CAC TGC TGG A) corre- mans. sponds to coordinates 3137–3155 of the human Dicer sequence. The ratios of firefly to Renilla luciferase activity were deter- mined 26 h after transfection and represent the average of three Materials and methods independent experiments; error bars indicate standard devia- tion. Cell culture HEK 293T, HeLa, COS-1, MEF, and IMR90 cells were cultured (Paddison et al. 2002); however, the utility of this ap- in DMEM (GIBCO BRL) supplemented with 10% heat-inacti- vated fetal bovine serum (FBS) and 1% antibiotic/antimycotic proach was limited by its restriction to cells that lack solution (GIBCO BRL). NIH 3T3 cells were cultured in DMEM endogenous, nonspecific responses to dsRNA, such as supplemented with 10% heat-inactivated calf serum and 1% PKR. antibiotic/antimycotic solution. Recently, a number of laboratories (Grishok et al. 2001; Hutvagner et al. 2001; Ketting et al. 2001; Knight RNA preparation and Bass 2001) have shown that there exist endogenously encoded triggers of RNAi-related pathways, which are Both shRNAs and siRNAs were produced in vitro using chemi- transcribed as short hairpin RNAs (stRNAs, or generi- cally synthesized DNA oligonucleotide templates (Sigma) and cally miRNAs). Here, we have shown that short hairpin the T7 Megashortscript kit (Ambion). Transcription templates Figure 6. Stable shRNA-mediated gene silencing of an endogenous gene. (A) Sequence and predicted sec- ondary structure of the p53 hairpin. The 5 shRNA stem contains a 27-nt sequence derived from mouse p53 (nucleotides 166–192), whereas the 3 stem har- bors the complimentary antisense sequence. (B) Se- nescence bypass in primary mouse embryo fibro- blasts (MEFs) expressing an shRNA targeted at p53. Wild-type MEFs, passage 5, were transfected with pBabe-RasV12 with control plasmid or with p53hp (5 µg each with FuGENE; Roche). Two days after transfection, cells were trypsinized, counted, and plated at a density of 1 × 10 /10-cm plate in media containing 2.0 µg/mL of puromycin. Control cells cease proliferation and show a senescent morphol- ogy (left panel). Cells expressing the p53 hairpin con- tinue to grow (right panel). Photos were taken 14 d posttransfection. 956 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Stable silencing by RNAi were designed such that they contained T7 promoter sequences Howard Hughes Medical Institute. G.J.H. is a Rita Allen Foun- at the 5 end. shRNA transcripts subjected to in vitro Dicer dation scholar. This work was supported in part by a grant from processing were synthesized using a Riboprobe kit (Promega). the NIH (RO1-GM62534, GJH) and by a grant from Genetica, Chemically synthesized RNAs were obtained from Dharmacon, Inc. (Cambridge, MA). Inc. The publication costs of this article were defrayed in part by payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 USC section Transfection and gene silencing assays 1734 solely to indicate this fact. Cells were transfected with indicated amounts of siRNA, shRNA, and plasmid DNA using standard calcium phosphate procedures at 50%–70% confluence in 6-well plates. Dual lu- References ciferase assays (Promega) were carried out by cotransfecting Bernstein, E., Caudy, A.A., Hammond, S.M., and Hannon, G.J. cells with plasmids containing firefly luciferase under the con- 2001a. Role for a bidentate ribonuclease in the initiation step trol of the SV40 promoter (pGL3-Control, Promega) and Renilla of RNA interference. Nature 409: 363–366. luciferase under the control of the SV40 early enhancer/pro- Bernstein, E., Denli, A.M., and Hannon, G.J. 2001b. The rest is moter region (pSV40, Promega). Plasmids were cotransfected silence. RNA 7: 1509–1521. using a 1:1 ratio of pGL3-Control (250 ng/well) to pRL-SV40. Billy, E., Brondani, V., Zhang, H., Muller, U., and Filipowicz, W. RNAi in S2 cells was performed as previously described (Ham- 2001. Specific interference with gene expression induced by mond et al. 2000). For stable silencing, primary MEFs (a gift long, double-stranded RNA in mouse embryonal teratocar- from S. Lowe, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY) were co- cinoma cell lines. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 98: 14428–14433. transfected using Fugene 6 with pBabe-Ha-rasV12 and pShh-p53 Caplen, N.J., Parrish, S., Imani, F., Fire, A., and Morgan, R.A. (no resistance marker), according to the manufacturer’s recom- 2001. Specific inhibition of gene expression by small double- mendations. Selection was for the presence of the activated Ha- stranded RNAs in invertebrate and vertebrate systems. Proc. rasV12 plasmid, which carries a puromycin-resistance marker. Natl. Acad. Sci. 98: 9742–9747. The pShh-p53 plasmid was present in excess, as is standard in a Chong, S.S., Hu, P., and Hernandez, N. 2001. Reconstitution of cotransfection experiment. 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Nature 407: 319–320. 958 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 9, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) induce sequence-specific silencing in mammalian cells Patrick J. Paddison, Amy A. Caudy, Emily Bernstein, et al. Genes Dev. 2002, 16: Access the most recent version at doi:10.1101/gad.981002 This article cites 40 articles, 22 of which can be accessed free at: References http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/16/8/948.full.html#ref-list-1 License Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top right corner Email Alerting of the article or click here. Service Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

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