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Nat Genet. 2003 Jul;34(3):263-4.

Induction of an interferon response by RNAi vectors in mammalian cells.

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  • 1Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, CH-1066 Epalinges, Switzerland.


DNA vectors that express short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) from RNA polymerase III (Pol III) promoters are a promising new tool to reduce gene expression in mammalian cells. shRNAs are processed to small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) of 21 nucleotides (nt) that guide the cleavage of the cognate mRNA by the RNA-induced silencing complex. Although siRNAs are thought to be too short to induce interferon expression, we report here that a substantial number of shRNA vectors can trigger an interferon response.

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