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The application of RNA interference (RNAi) to study gene function is now commonplace in a variety of biological systems. Producing short hairpin RNA (shRNA) by DNA vectors is one popular strategy for RNAi applications. Here, we describe a one-step PCR method, termed reverse PCR, for constructing shRNA expression vectors. Characteristically, the pair of primers binds to circular plasmid in a back-to-back manner. The anchored primers provide the templates of shRNA sense strand and antisense strand locating to the two separate ends of PCR segment, which will benefit the PCR amplification and subsequent cloning by avoiding premature formation of a hairpin configuration. Finally, the establishment of a circular vector is achieved by self-ligation of the single PCR product. In addition, our results indicated that the hairpin loop including a single restriction site is resistant to digestion, while inclusion of twin restriction sites in the loop leads to activity, creating an optimal strategy for verifying sequences of shRNA template.
RNAi, cloning, reverse PCR, loop, vector, siRNA, shRNA, sequencing, RNAi, Gene Silencing