Hai-Chang Yin, Xin-Yu Chen, Wei Wang & Qing-Wen Meng
Mamm Genome. 2020 Apr;31(3-4):110-116. doi: 10.1007/s00335-020-09838-0. Epub 2020 Apr 21.
RNA polymerase III is an essential enzyme in eukaryotes for synthesis of tRNA, 5S rRNA, and other small nuclear and cytoplasmic RNAs. Thus, RNA polymerase III promoters are often used in small hairpin RNA (shRNA) expression. In this study, the porcine H1, U6, and 7SK RNA polymerase III type promoters were cloned into a pcDNA3.1( +) expression vector containing a shRNA sequence targeting enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP). PK and DF-1 cells were cotransfected with the construction of recombinant interference expression vector and the EGFP expression vector, pEGFP-N1. The average fluorescence intensity of EGFP in transfected cells was measured by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Real-time PCR was used to detect expressed shRNAs and the relative expression of EGFP, to confirm the activity of the promoters. The results showed that the activity of porcine 7SK promoter is stronger than the U6 promoter, which is in turn stronger than porcine H1. While the high levels of expression of the U6 and 7SK promoters saturate the shRNAs level in the host cell, which can cause cytotoxicity and tissue damage. Therefore, porcine H1 promoter is effective for expression of shRNA, and may be an excellent tool to knockdown gene expression in pigs for functional genomics studies. The results also lay a foundation for the development of porcine RNAi technology and genetically modified porcine research.