Selected technologies to control genes and their products for experimental and clinical purposes
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'On-demand' regulation of gene expression is a powerful tool to elucidate the functions of proteins and biologically-active RNAs. We describe here three different approaches to the regulation of expression or activity of genes or proteins. Promoter-based regulation of gene expression was among the most rapidly developing techniques in the 1980s and 1990s. Here we provide basic information and also some characteristics of the metallothionein-promoter-based system, the tet-off system, Muristerone-A-regulated expression through the ecdysone response element, RheoSwitch?, coumermycin/novobiocin-regulated gene expression, chemical dimerizer-based promoter activation systems, the 'Dual Drug Control' system, 'constitutive androstane receptor'-based regulation of gene expression, and RU486/mifepristone-driven regulation of promoter activity. A large part of the review concentrates on the principles and usage of various RNA interference techniques (RNAi: siRNA, shRNA, and miRNA-based methods). Finally, the last part of the review deals with historically the oldest, but still widely used, methods of temperature-dependent regulation of enzymatic activity or protein stability (temperature-sensitive mutants). Due to space limitations we do not describe in detail but just mention the tet-regulated systems and also fusion-protein-based regulation of protein activity, such as estrogen-receptor fusion proteins. The information provided below is aimed to assist researchers in choosing the most appropriate method for the planned development of experimental systems with regulated expression or activity of studied proteins.
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Marek Los, Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, ON6010-675 McDermot Ave., University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, R3E 0V9, Canada