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Keywords:

  • siRNA;
  • keratin disorders;
  • pachyonychia congenita

Abstract: RNA interference offers a novel approach for treating genetic disorders including the rare monogenic skin disorder pachyonychia congenita (PC). PC is caused by mutations in keratin 6a (K6a), K6b, K16, and K17 genes, including small deletions and single nucleotide changes. Transfection experiments of a fusion gene consisting of K6a and a yellow fluorescent reporter (YFP) resulted in normal keratin filament formation in transfected cells as assayed by fluorescence microscopy. Similar constructs containing a single nucleotide change (N171K) or a three-nucleotide deletion (N171del) showed keratin aggregate formation. Mutant-specific small inhibitory RNAs (siRNAs) effectively targeted these sites. These studies suggest that siRNAs can discriminate single nucleotide mutations and further suggest that “designer siRNAs” may allow effective treatment of a host of genetic disorders including PC.