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In this study, we formulate a computational reaction model following a chemical kinetic theory approach to predict the binding rate constant for the siRNA-RISC complex formation reaction. The model allowed us to study the potency difference between 2-nt 3' overhangs against blunt-ended siRNA molecules in an RNA interference (RNAi) system. The rate constant predicted by this model was fed into a stochastic simulation of the RNAi system (using the Gillespie stochastic simulator) to study the overall potency effect. We observed that the stochasticity in the transcription/translation machinery has no observable effects in the RNAi pathway. Sustained gene silencing using siRNAs can be achieved only if there is a way to replenish the dsRNA molecules in the cell. Initial findings show about 1.5 times more blunt-ended molecules will be required to keep the mRNA at the same reduced level compared to the 2-nt overhang siRNAs. However, the mRNA levels jump back to saturation after a longer time when blunt-ended siRNAs are used. We found that the siRNA-RISC complex formation reaction rate was 2 times slower when blunt-ended molecules were used pointing to the fact that the presence of the 2-nt overhangs has a greater effect on the reaction in which the bound RISC complex cleaves the mRNA.

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BMC Genomics



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