Non-cell-autonomous RNA interference in mammalian cells: Implications for in vivo cell-based RNAi delivery

Review Article

J RNAi Gene Silencing (2011), 7, 456-463

doi: jrgsxx

Published online: 01 December 2011

Full Text: (pdf ~436kb)

Non-cell-autonomous RNA interference in mammalian cells: Implications for in vivo cell-based RNAi delivery

Hannah C Cohen and May P Xiong *

Pharmaceutical Sciences Division, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 777 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705, USA

*Correspondence toMay Xiong, Email:, Tel: +608 890 0699. Fax: +608 262 5345

Received: 18 October 2011, Revised: 01 November 2011, Accepted: 09 November 2011



RNA interference (RNAi) is a post-transcriptional pathway in which double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) triggers the degradation of complementary mRNA in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells. In plants and in some animals, including Caenorhabditis elegans, initiation of RNAi in one cell can lead to sequence-specific RNA silencing in another cell, a phenomenon referred to as non-cell-autonomous RNAi. Until recently, this phenomenon had not been observed in mammalian cells. Here, we review emerging data demonstrating that non-cell-autonomous RNAi occurs in cultured mammalian cells. We discuss possible mechanisms for the transfer of RNAi between mammalian cells and highlight the implications of this phenomenon for the development of in vivo cell-based RNAi delivery.

KEYWORDS: RNAi, siRNA, miRNA, non-cell-autonomous RNAi, systemic RNAi, RNAi delivery, cell-based delivery


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