Functional RNAs: Combined assembly and packaging in VLPs

Po Yu Fang, Lizzette M.Gomez Ramos, Stefany Y. Holguin, Chiaolong Hsiao, Jessica C. Bowman, Hung Wei Yang, Loren Dean Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


We describe here a one pot RNA production, packaging and delivery system based on bacteriophage Qβ. We demonstrate a method for production of a novel RNAi scaffold, packaged within Qβ virus-like particles (VLPs). The RNAi scaffold is a general utility chimera that contains a functional RNA duplex with paired silencing and carrier sequences stabilized by a miR-30 stem-loop. The Qβ hairpin on the 5β end confers affinity for the Qβ coat protein (CP). Silencing sequences can include mature miRNAs and siRNAs, and can target essentially any desired mRNA. The VLP-RNAi assembles upon co-expression of CP and the RNAi scaffold in E. coli. The annealing of the scaffold to form functional RNAs is intramolecular and is therefore robust and concentration independent. We demonstrate dose-and time-dependent inhibition of GFP expression in human cells with VLP-RNAi. In addition, we target the 3βUTR of oncogenic Ras mRNA and suppress Pan-Ras expression, which attenuates cell proliferation and promotes mortality of brain tumor cells. This combination of RNAi scaffold design with Qβ VLP packaging is demonstrated to be targetspecific and efficient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3519-3527
Number of pages9
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 7

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


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