Molecular Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 281 Views Jan 5, 2023

Advances in imaging technology offer new opportunities in developmental biology. To observe the development of internal structures, microtome cross-sectioning followed by H&E staining on glass slides is a common procedure; however, this technique can be destructive, and artifacts can be introduced during the process. In this protocol, we describe a less invasive procedure with which we can stain insect samples and obtain reconstructed three-dimensional images using micro-computed tomography, or micro-CT (µCT). Specifically, we utilize the fungus-farming ambrosia beetle species Euwallacea validus to observe the morphology of mycangia, a critical internal organ with which beetles transport fungal symbionts. Not only this protocol is ideal to observe mycangia, our staining/scanning procedure can also be applied to observe other delicate tissues and small organs in arthropods.

Graphical abstract

0 Q&A 1432 Views Apr 20, 2022

In the Japanese rhinoceros beetle Trypoxylus dichotomus, various candidate genes required for a specific phenotype of interest are listed by next-generation sequencing analysis. Their functions were investigated using RNA interference (RNAi) method, the only gene function analysis tool for T. dichotomus developed so far. The summarized procedure for the RNAi method used for T. dichotomus is to synthesize double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), and inject it in larvae or pupae of T. dichotomus. Although some dedicated materials or equipment are generally required to inject dsRNA in insects, the advantage of the protocol described here is that it is possible to inject dsRNA in T. dichotomus with one syringe.

0 Q&A 7365 Views May 20, 2021

The co-stimulatory molecule CD40 and its ligand CD40L play a key role in the regulation of immunological processes and are involved in the pathophysiology of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Inhibition of the CD40-CD40L axis is a promising therapy, and a number of strategies and techniques have been designed to hinder its functionality. Our group has broad experience in silencing CD40 using RNAi technology, and here we summarize protocols for the systemic administration of a specific anti-CD40 siRNA in different rodents models, in addition to the subsequent quantification of CD40 expression in murine kidneys by immunostaining. The use of RNAi technology with specific siRNAs to silence genes is becoming an essential method to investigate gene functions and is rapidly emerging as a therapeutic tool.

Graphic abstract:

CD40 siRNA mechanism

0 Q&A 6144 Views Feb 5, 2019
Much of our knowledge about the mechanisms underlying biological processes relies on genetic approaches, whereby gene activity is reduced and the phenotypic consequences of perturbation are analyzed in detail. For functional genomic studies, a specific, systematic, and cost-effective manner is critical. Transgenic RNAi system is the top priority choice to study gene functions due to its simple and practical characteristics in Drosophila. We established a novel system that works well in both soma and germ cells which is efficient and specific. With this system, we can precisely and efficiently modulate highly expressed genes, and simultaneously knock down multiple genes in one step. In this study, we provide a detailed protocol of the pNP system, which replaces other transgenic systems, and expect it can provide some help to researchers who are using this system.
0 Q&A 4239 Views Dec 20, 2018
Genetic screens are a powerful approach to identify previously uncharacterized genes involved in specific biological processes. Several technologies have been developed for high-throughput screens using reagents such as RNAi or CRISPR, and each approach is associated with specific advantages and disadvantages. Variable Dose Analysis (VDA), is an RNAi-based method developed in Drosophila cells that improves signal-to-noise ratio compared to previous methods. VDA assays are performed by co-transfecting cells with a plasmid expressing shRNA, (a type of RNAi that can be easily expressed from a DNA plasmid) against a gene of interest and a second plasmid expressing a fluorescent reporter protein. Fluorescent protein expression, can be used as an indirect readout of shRNA expression and therefore target gene knockdown efficiency. Using this approach, we can measure phenotypes over a range of knockdown efficiencies in a single sample. When applied to genetic interaction screens, VDA results in improved consistency between screens and reliable detection of known interactions. Furthermore, because phenotypes are analyzed over a range of target gene knockdown efficiencies, VDA allows the detection of phenotypes and genetic interactions involving essential genes at sub-lethal knockdown efficiency. This therefore represents a powerful approach to high-throughput screening applicable to a wide range of biological questions.
0 Q&A 10690 Views Sep 5, 2018
MicroRNA-induced gene regulation is a growing field in basic and translational research. Examining this regulation directly in cells is necessary to validate high-throughput data originated from RNA sequencing technologies. For this several studies employ luciferase-based reporters that usually measure the whole cell population, which comes with low resolution for the complexity of the miRNA-induced regulation. Here, we provide a protocol using a dual-fluorescence reporter and flow cytometry reaching single cell resolution; the protocol contains a simplified workflow that includes: vector generation, data acquisition, processing, and analysis using the R environment. Our protocol enables high-resolution measurements of miRNA induced post-transcriptional gene regulation and combined with system biology it can be used to estimate miRNAs proficiency.
0 Q&A 8191 Views Sep 5, 2017
Autophagy is a recycling pathway, in which intracellular cargoes including protein aggregates and bacteria are engulfed by autophagosomes and subsequently degraded after fusion with lysosomes. Dysregulation of this process is involved in several human diseases such as cancer or neurodegeneration. Hence, advancing our understanding of how autophagy is regulated provides an opportunity to explore druggable targets and subsequently develop treatment strategies for these diseases. To identify novel autophagy regulators, we developed an image-based phenotypic RNAi screening approach using autophagic marker proteins at endogenous levels (Jung et al., 2017). In contrast to previously performed autophagy screens, this approach does not use overexpressed, tagged autophagy marker proteins but rather detects autophagic structures at endogenous levels. Furthermore, we monitored early and late phases of autophagy in parallel while other screens employed only a single autophagosome marker mostly GFP-LC3B. Here, we describe this multiplex screening protocol in detail and discuss general considerations about how to establish image-based siRNA screens.
0 Q&A 10148 Views Oct 20, 2016
This protocol describes small RNA library preparation from Vigna mungo total RNA followed by deep sequencing and analysis for microRNA identification.​
0 Q&A 8117 Views Apr 5, 2016
Despite the great promise that short interfering RNA (siRNA) induced RNAi responses hold as a therapeutic modality, due to their size (~15 kDa) and high negative charge (Bumcrot et al., 2006), siRNAs have no bioavailability and require a delivery agent to enter cells (Figure 1). TAT peptide transduction domain (PTD) has been developed as an agent that mediates cellular delivery of macromolecular therapeutics that otherwise lack bioavailability, making it a tantalizing candidate for siRNA delivery (Farkhani et al., 2014). Unfortunately, when conjugated to TAT PTD, the presence of 40 negative phosphodiester backbone charges on siRNA neutralizes the cationic PTD resulting in aggregation and poor cellular delivery (Meade and Dowdy, 2007). In light of this, we synthesized a neutral RNAi trigger, termed siRiboNucleic Neutrals, for conjugation to TAT PTD (Meade et al., 2014). In brief, the negatively charged phosphodiester backbone was neutralized by synthesis with bio-reversible phosphotriester protecting groups which are specifically converted into charged phosphodiester bonds inside of cells by the action of cytoplasmic restricted thioesterases resulting in a wild type siRNA that can induce RNAi responses. Here we describe the conjugation and cellular delivery of siRNN oligonucleotides with TAT PTD delivery domain (DD) HyNic peptides.
0 Q&A 10058 Views Jan 20, 2016
Virus-based microRNA silencing (VbMS) is a viable and prompt method to screen and characterize the function of microRNAs (miRNAs) in plants. The Tobacco rattle virus (TRV)-based VbMS method was originally developed by the Yule Liu's group (Sha et al., 2014) using miRNA target mimic (TM) methodology. Here, we describe the TRV-based VbMS method for silencing endogenous miRNA in Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato via Agrobacterium infiltrations. For each assay, Agrobacterium cultures containing pTRV1 and specific pTRV2e derivative harboring TM fragments are mixed and infiltrated into plant tissues. Generally within 3 weeks, the target miRNAs gene will be silenced and the newly developed tissues will exhibit corresponding phenotypes.

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