• chick;
  • engrailed;
  • in ovo electroporation;
  • RNAi;
  • shRNA;
  • siRNA

In this paper, the use of vector-based RNA interference (RNAi) to specifically interfere with gene expression in chick embryos is reported. In ovo electroporation was carried out to transfer a small interfering RNA (siRNA) expression vector into chick embryos. En2 was chosen for the target gene because the family gene, En1, is expressed in a similar pattern. Four sets of 19-mer sequences were designed with the En2 open reading frame region connected to a sequence of short hairpin RNA (shRNA), which exerts siRNA effects after being transcribed, and inserted into pSilencer U6-1.0 vector. En2 and En1 expression were suppressed by the siRNA whose sequence completely matched En2 and En1. Suppression occurred when the siRNA sequence differed by up to two nucleotides from the target sequence. The sequence that differed by four nucleotides from the target gene did not show siRNA effects. One set that completely matched the En2 target did not show siRNA effects, which may be due to location of the siRNA in the target gene. Thus, multiple sets of shRNA must be prepared if we are to consider. This system will greatly contribute to the analysis of function of genes of interest, because the target gene can be silenced in a locally and temporally desired manner.