RNA-interference (Fire et al. 1998) is a popular ‘reverse-genetics’ screening strategy. In particular ingested variant of RNAi (Timmons et al. 1999) gained popularity for genome-wide screens, where bacterially expressed dsRNA is administrated per os utilizing modified plasmids and E. coli as a feeding vector (Timmons et al. 2001). Genome-wide RNAi screens are presently carried using RNAi feeding libraries.

Two types of genome-wide RNAi ‘feeding libraries’ entailing PCR-amplified target regions are presently available: library of predicted gene-overlapping segments (Kamath et al. 2003) and amplified cDNA library (Rual et al. 2004). However, available genome-wide PCR-based recombinant RNAi libraries – resources consisting of dsRNA producing plasmids – depend heavily on gene predictions, hence the bias toward certain exon rich gene regions or certain cDNAs. Here, I report on a complementary resource facilitating an approach to RNAi screen relying on unbiased ‘forward-genetics’ strategy.

The experiments based on this approach started with the construction of the library of genomic segments incorporated into convergent T7 polymerase binding sites plasmid (PBS) vector (L4440 plasmid ), I ligated with standard, small scale liquid worm DNA prep digested with EcoRI and HindIII* and transformed into HT115(DE3) E. coli (Timmons et al. 2001). Resulting convergent T7 PBS library was estimated as ~95% recombinant. Convergent T7 library clones were fed individually with a standard protocol (as described previously, Kapulkin et al. 2005) into N2-derived worms, to confirm the apparent lethal/sterile phenotype occurs at a frequency of 1-2 per 24 clones tested.

Based on the above experiment, I think the forward RNA interference screening is useful and feasible, with strong expectation the presented screening mode will complement and extend on the existing, currently available, genome-wide RNAi resources.

*Other variants of the experiment explored elsewhere, involve the fragmented DNA ligated with other enzymes and/or linkers.