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Journal Article

Quantitative PCR primer design affects quantification of dsRNA-mediated gene knockdown

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External Resource

https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5387
(Publisher version)

Fulltext (public)

KAL103.pdf
(Publisher version), 395KB

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Citation

Onchuru, T. O., & Kaltenpoth, M. (2019). Quantitative PCR primer design affects quantification of dsRNA-mediated gene knockdown. Ecology and Evolution, 9(14), 8187-8192. doi:10.1002/ece3.5387.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-E2F0-A
Abstract
RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful tool for studying functions of candidate genes in both model and nonmodel organisms and a promising technique for therapeutic applications. Successful application of this technique relies on the accuracy and reliability of methods used to quantify gene knockdown. With the limitation in the availability of antibodies for detecting proteins, quantitative PCR (qPCR) remains the preferred method for quantifying target gene knockdown after dsRNA treatment. We evaluated how qPCR primer binding site and target gene expression levels affect quantification of intact mRNA transcripts following dsRNA-mediated RNAi. The use of primer pairs targeting the mRNA sequence within the dsRNA target region failed to reveal a significant decrease in target mRNA transcripts for genes with low expression levels, but not for a highly expressed gene. By contrast, significant knockdown was detected in all cases with primer pairs targeting the mRNA sequence extending beyond the dsRNA target region, regardless of the expression levels of the target gene. Our results suggest that at least for genes with low expression levels, quantifying the efficiency of dsRNA-mediated RNAi with primers amplifying sequences completely contained in the dsRNA target region should be avoided due to the risk of false-negative results. Instead, primer pairs extending beyond the dsRNA target region of the mRNA transcript sequences should be used for accurate and reliable quantification of silencing efficiency.