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We have developed a stable RNA interference (RNAi) delivery system that is based on the Frog Prince transposable element. This plasmid-based vector system combines the gene silencing capabilities of H1 polymerase III promoter-driven short hairpin RNAs (shRNA) with the advantages of stable and efficient genomic integration of the shRNA cassette mediated by transposition. We show that the Frog Prince-based shRNA expressing system can efficiently knock down the expression of both exogenous as well as endogenous genes in human cells. Furthermore, we use the Frog Prince-based system to study the effect of knockdown of the DNA repair factor Ku70 on transposition of the Sleeping Beauty transposon. Transposonmediated genomic integration ensures that the shRNA expression cassette and a selectable marker gene within the transposon remain intact and physically linked. We demonstrate that a major advantage of our vector system over plasmid-based shRNA delivery is both its enhanced frequency of intact genomic integration as well as higher target suppression in transgenic human cells. Due to its simplicity and effectiveness, transposon-based RNAi is an emerging tool to facilitate analysis of gene function through the establishment of stable loss-of-function cell lines.
RNA interference, short hairpin RNA, Frog Prince, Sleeping Beauty, nonviral gene transfer, stable gene knockdown, transposon-based gene delivery, RNAi, Gene Silencing