Research Article

Knockdown of chimeric glucocerebrosidase by green fluorescent protein-directed small interfering RNA

Published: June 14, 2004
Genet. Mol. Res. 3 (2) : 282-287

Abstract

Gaucher disease, the most common type of lysosomal storage disorder, is characterized by an inherited deficiency of the membrane-associated hydrolase, glucocerebrosidase. Glucocerebrosidase catalyzes the hydrolysis of glucocerebroside to ceramide and glucose, a crucial step in the recycling of membrane sphingolipids. The exorbitant cost of the current treatment standard for Gaucher disease, enzyme replacement therapy, prevents many from receiving treatment. This limitation has led to a wide-spread search for more efficient and cost-effective methods of protein production and alternate therapies, resulting in a closer examination of glucocerebrosidase biosynthesis and current treatment techniques. The use of specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to knock down target genes is an attractive option for studying such processes, though a glucocerebrosidase-specific siRNA has yet to be reported. We note, however, that green fluorescent protein (GFP)-directed siRNAs can not only provide a positive control to test siRNA delivery and system integrity, but also serve as a means to knock down a fusion partner without having to design siRNAs specific to the partner. After effectively co-transfecting COS-1 cells with enhanced GFP (EGFP)-tagged glucocerebrosidase constructs and GFP-directed siRNAs, we report successful knockdown of all EGFP-containing constructs at both the RNA and protein levels. This provides a method of examining enzyme biosynthesis and treatment options. Furthermore, this technique is applicable to other systems, since we have demonstrated the usefulness of GFP as a siRNA target in mammalian cells when fused to another gene of interest.

Gaucher disease, the most common type of lysosomal storage disorder, is characterized by an inherited deficiency of the membrane-associated hydrolase, glucocerebrosidase. Glucocerebrosidase catalyzes the hydrolysis of glucocerebroside to ceramide and glucose, a crucial step in the recycling of membrane sphingolipids. The exorbitant cost of the current treatment standard for Gaucher disease, enzyme replacement therapy, prevents many from receiving treatment. This limitation has led to a wide-spread search for more efficient and cost-effective methods of protein production and alternate therapies, resulting in a closer examination of glucocerebrosidase biosynthesis and current treatment techniques. The use of specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to knock down target genes is an attractive option for studying such processes, though a glucocerebrosidase-specific siRNA has yet to be reported. We note, however, that green fluorescent protein (GFP)-directed siRNAs can not only provide a positive control to test siRNA delivery and system integrity, but also serve as a means to knock down a fusion partner without having to design siRNAs specific to the partner. After effectively co-transfecting COS-1 cells with enhanced GFP (EGFP)-tagged glucocerebrosidase constructs and GFP-directed siRNAs, we report successful knockdown of all EGFP-containing constructs at both the RNA and protein levels. This provides a method of examining enzyme biosynthesis and treatment options. Furthermore, this technique is applicable to other systems, since we have demonstrated the usefulness of GFP as a siRNA target in mammalian cells when fused to another gene of interest.

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