Flow cytometry-based functional selection of RNA interference triggers for efficient epi-allelic analysis of therapeutic targets
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Background: The dose-response relationship is a fundamental pharmacological parameter necessary to determine therapeutic thresholds. Epi-allelic hypomorphic analysis using RNA interference (RNAi) can similarly correlate target gene dosage with cellular phenotypes. This however requires a set of RNAi triggers empirically determined to attenuate target gene expression to different levels.
Results: In order to improve our ability to incorporate epi-allelic analysis into target validation studies, we developed a novel flow cytometry-based functional screening approach (CellSelectRNAi) to achieve unbiased selection of shRNAs from high-coverage libraries that knockdown target gene expression to predetermined levels. Employing a Gaussian probability model we calculated that knockdown efficiency is inferred from shRNA sequence frequency profiles derived from sorted hypomorphic cell populations. We used this approach to generate a hypomorphic epi-allelic cell series of shRNAs to reveal a functional threshold for the tumor suppressor p53 in normal and transformed cells.
Conclusion: The unbiased CellSelectRNAi flow cytometry-based functional screening approach readily provides an epi-allelic series of shRNAs for graded reduction of target gene expression and improved phenotypic validation.
David R Micklem et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.