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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2012 Jul;184(1):55-8. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2012.04.003. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

A single-cloning-step procedure for the generation of RNAi plasmids producing long stem-loop RNA.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, 295 Congress Avenue, New Haven, CT 06536, USA.


RNA interference (RNAi), used as a tool, has revolutionized the studies of gene function. Long stem-loop dsRNA has been proven the most effective trigger for down-regulating target transcripts in RNAi-positive trypanosomatid parasites. Here we describe a protocol for constructing plasmids that produce long stem-loops by using a single cloning step. Inverted repeats are first obtained by self-ligation of PCR products that contain a randomized segment at one of their ends and then inserted in a plasmid vector. The random sequences create the loop (or "stuffer") of the hairpin. This methodology was tested in Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis to constitutively knock down the mRNAs for the well-studied paraflagellar rod protein 1 and 2 (PFR1 and PFR2) genes and revealed that mRNA cleavage products are unusually stable in these parasites. The protocol is suitable for any plasmid (for constitutive or inducible expression) and for any organism in which long stem-loops can be used to elicit RNAi.

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