Bacterial Vectors for RNAi Delivery
Thu Nguyen and Johannes H. Fruehauf
RNA interference (RNAi) is a recently discovered powerful research tool which allows the targeted "silencing" of particular genes. RNAi is also thought to have immense therapeutic potential to treat and prevent a wide range of diseases from inflammation to cancer and to target genes which have formerly been considered “undruggable”. However, the advancement of RNAi technology as a means of therapy is hindered by the challenges of delivering RNAi into the cytoplasm of target cells. As a versatile gene vector, bacteria have been employed and shown to be an effective, safe and inexpensive measure for delivering RNAi to mammalian cells. Two systems that exploit the therapeutic benefits of bacteria to deliver RNAi are transkingdom RNA interference (tkRNAi) and bacteria‑mediated RNA interference (bm‑RNAi). Both systems are effective in eliciting gene silencing both in vitro and in vivo and they suggest an important role for bacteria in future RNAi therapeutics.