Single-cell kinetics of siRNA-mediated mRNA degradation. Krzysztoń et al. 2019. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine.

Silencing disease-related genes is a promising strategy to treat many conditions such as IBD. This kind of therapies are based on blocking and destroying the messengers (mRNA) that hold the information for a protein. This process, called RNA interference (RNAi), can be carried out by engineered molecules called siRNA. The efficiency of these molecules is commonly assessed by measuring the expression levels of the target protein at a given time point. Regretfully, this kind of studies lack of a temporal and spatial context, thus hindering an accurate evaluation of siRNA therapeutics.

This article shows a novel technique to determine the kinetics of the gene silencing process using siRNAs. It exploits fluorescence to measure mRNA degradation within every single cell over time, and employs a mathematical model to estimate the gene expression levels at a given time point. This method greatly improves the assessment of mRNA degradation allowing an accurate evaluation of siRNAs as tools to silence disease-related genes and thus improving their potential as future clinical applications.