Using Engineered microRNAs as Vectors for Animal RNA Interference: Promises and Challenges


microRNAs are post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression that recruit RNA silencing complexes to target transcripts to prevent translation and promote their degradation. Experimental studies suggest that microRNA binding to target transcripts can result in as much as a 90% decrease in gene expression. Because of this feature, the microRNA pathway has been utilized as a vehicle for potent RNA interference (RNAi). In recent years, significant advances have been made in engineering artificial microRNA vectors for RNAi in a number of biological systems, with the most progress in plants but also some success in mouse and human cell lines. In this mini-review, we provide a brief discussion of the potential of this technology in comparison with other RNAi strategies, and the current challenges in the design of microRNA-based RNAi vectors, particularly for animal systems.

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Chen, J. and Zeller, R. (2014) Using Engineered microRNAs as Vectors for Animal RNA Interference: Promises and Challenges. Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology, 5, 301-310. doi: 10.4236/abb.2014.54037.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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