Khandelia P, Yap K, Makeyev EV (2011) Streamlined platform for short hairpin RNA interference and transgenesis in cultured mammalian cells.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108: 12799-804
Sequence-specific gene silencing by short hairpin (sh) RNAs has recently emerged as an indispensable tool for understanding gene function and a promising avenue for drug discovery. However, a wider biomedical use of this approach is hindered by the lack of straightforward methods for achieving uniform expression of shRNAs in mammalian cell cultures. Here we report a high-efficiency and low-background (HILO) recombination-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) technology that yields virtually homogeneous cell pools containing doxycycline-inducible shRNA elements in a matter of days and with minimal efforts. To ensure immediate utility of this approach for a wider research community, we modified 11 commonly used human (A549, HT1080, HEK293T, HeLa, HeLa-S3, and U2OS) and mouse (CAD, L929, N2a, NIH 3T3, and P19) cell lines to be compatible with the HILO-RMCE process. Because of its technical simplicity and cost efficiency, the technology will be advantageous for both low- and high-throughput shRNA experiments. We also provide evidence that HILO-RMCE will facilitate a wider range of molecular and cell biology applications by allowing one to rapidly engineer cell populations expressing essentially any transgene of interest.