RNA Interference

Published 21 Feb 2017

RNA interference is an accepted mechanism for suppressing gene expression. This anti-viral response can be exploited to permit to specific reticence of the intention of any chosen target genes as well as those concerned in causing diseases such as cancer, AIDS and hepatitis (Downward, 2004). It is already imposing as a very useful research tool which allows for faster characterization of the intention of the known genes. More importantly, it augments efficient genomics to assist in the uncovering of novel genes concerned in the disease development. Many people—both scientists and layman—are gambling that it can be used as an valuable therapeutic strategy to suppress the actions of the target cells (source of disease) (Downward, 2004).

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Histoplasma capsulatum is a pathogenic fungus that is that contributory agent of histoplasmosis which is one of the most common fungal respiratory illnesses in the world. In an experiment conducted by Bohse and Woods in 2007, it was found out that the YPS3 gene of the fungus predetermines a protein that is both surface-constrained in the cell wall and is released into a medium that was made up of agarose and supplemental FeSO4. (Bohse & Woods, 2007) Protein was produced only during the pathogenic yeast period of infection and is also articulated differently in varying strains of the specimen with different levels of virulence. RNA interference was utilized when the YPS3 transcript was suppressed and after that, the mutants were then inspected for phenotypic differences in vitro and during infection. The mutants established no growth deficiency during in vitro culture in the medium provided that it was set at a certain temperature; whereas in this case, it was 37C and apparently, it showcased normal virulence in a raw cell line (Bohse & Woods, 2007). Meanwhile, in another model of infection, the mutants yielded a significant reduction in fungal burdens, principally in the peripheral phagocyte-rich tissues of the liver and spleen (Bohse & Woods, 2007). Within 3 days, the imperfection in the organ colonization was observable and it aggravated at later time points (Bohse & Woods, 2007).

There is an association of YPS3 gene expression with the pathogenicity since only the most potent strains of the specimens express it (Bohse & Woods, 2007). Experiments that were done at certain times revealed that the control strain either amplified or persisted fungal burdens in the lungs, liver and spleen during the sequence of the infection over the course of the experiment(Bohse & Woods, 2007). With the RNA interference mutants, the disease levels in all the organs diminished which then only shows a relationship with the beginning of obtained immunity and may be consistent with YSP3 participation in some aspect of the process (Bohse & Woods, 2007). For plummeting the fungal burdens and promotion of organ clearance, an acquired resistance, production of cytokines gamma interferon and tumor necrosis for factor alpha served to be of great importance (Bohse & Woods, 2007).

RNA interference does not only work or is helpful in suppressing respiratory diseases but also, it plays a vital role in helping biologists to silence the expression of some cells that might be of great danger to our health including cancer, AIDS, etc. In the experiment that was scrutinized above, biologists focused on the suppression of YPS3 gene that serves as a vector of histoplasmosis; which is an inflammatory disease. This was made possible with the help of RNA interference which they used as a mechanism to silence its expression. This experiment only proves that RNA interference is an important tool to counter act the possible appalling effects of the gene that we want to suppress. Although it is a very effective tool, it would not be so great if there will be no bacteriophage to assist the whole operation. In short, RNA interference cannot work by itself; it has to have an assistant so that it can effectively work.

RNA interference is a major breakthrough in the world of science and medicine. Because of such discovery, scientists are able to manipulate the genetic composition of cells that contain genes that are harmful not just on humans but on the bigger scale, even on our environment. There is hope in the future that it will be very useful in curing some diseases that are very hard to cure these days and there is no denying that it will not be very soon.


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