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Chem Biol. 2004 Aug;11(8):1165-75.

Visualizing a correlation between siRNA localization, cellular uptake, and RNAi in living cells.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605, USA.


RNA interference (RNAi) is the process by which short-interfering RNA (siRNA) target a specific mRNA for degradation through interactions with an RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). Here, a clear correlation between siRNA localization, cellular uptake, and RNAi activity was discovered by delivering siRNA into cells using siRNA-TAT(47-57) peptide, siRNA-TAT(47-57)-derived oligocarbamate conjugates, or nanoparticles. For successful RNAi, the localization of siRNA was distinctly perinuclear, suggesting that siRNA is targeted to these regions for interactions with RISC to induce RNAi. siRNA sequence variation and the presence of the target mRNA apparently did not change the subcellular localization pattern of siRNA. Intriguingly, siRNA conjugated to TAT(47-57) peptide or TAT(47-57)-derived oligocarbamate resulted in efficient RNAi activity and perinuclear localization of siRNA that was distinctly different from nonconjugated free TAT peptide nucleolar localization. These results suggest that interactions with RISC dictate siRNA localization even when siRNA is conjugated to TAT(47-57) peptide.

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