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New Hairpin RNAi Vector with Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis Intron for Gene Silencing in Plants

  • Lee, Gi-Ho (Department of Horticultural Biotechnology, Kyung Hee University) ;
  • Lee, Gang-Seob (Biosafety Division, National Academy of Agricultural Science, Rural Development Administration) ;
  • Park, Young-Doo (Department of Horticultural Biotechnology, Kyung Hee University)
  • Received : 2016.12.05
  • Accepted : 2017.03.24
  • Published : 2017.06.28

Abstract

Homology-specific transcriptional and post-transcriptional silencing, an intrinsic mechanism of gene regulation in most eukaryotes, can be induced by anti-sense, co-suppression, or hairpin-based double-stranded RNA. Hairpin-based RNA interference (RNAi) has been applied to analyze gene function and genetically modify crops. However, RNAi vector construction usually requires high-cost cloning steps and large amounts of time, or involves methods that are protected by intellectual property rights. We describe a more effective method for generating intron-spliced RNAi constructs. To produce intron-spliced hairpin RNA, an RNAi cassette was ligated with the first intron and splicing sequences of the Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis histone deacetylase 1 gene. This method requires a single ligation of the PCR-amplified target gene to SpeI-NcoI and SacI-BglII enzyme sites to create a gene-specific silencing construct. We named the resulting binary vector system pKHi and verified its functionality by constructing a vector to silence DIHYDROFLAVONOL 4-REDUCTASE (DFR), transforming it into tobacco plants, and confirming DFR gene-silencing via PCR, RT-qPCR, and analysis of the accumulation of small interfering RNAs. Reduction of anthocyanin biosynthesis was also confirmed by analyzing flower color of the transgenic tobacco plants. This study demonstrates that small interfering RNAs generated through the pKHi vector system can efficiently silence target genes and could be used in developing genetically modified crops.

Acknowledgement

Supported by : Rural Development Administration

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