In the paper "A genome-wide siRNA screen identifies a druggable host pathway essential for the Ebola virus life cycle" by Martin et al. the authors try to disrupt the Ebola life-cycle by screening which human genes participate in it's replications:

In order to identify host factors involved in the EBOV life cycle, we performed a genome-wide siRNA screen comprising 64,755 individual siRNAs against 21,566 human genes to assess their activity in EBOV genome replication and transcription. As a screening platform, we used reverse genetics-based life cycle modelling systems that recapitulate these processes without the need for a BSL4 laboratory.

This helped them find a pathway.

What is siRNA screening and how does it help find a pathway?

The tag [rna-interference] references siRNA:

A post-transcriptional mechanism of gene-regulation/silencing mediated by small RNAs (siRNA)

However, I can't tell if siRNA refers to "small RNAs" or the whole process.


1 Answer 1


According to the Labome article "siRNAs and shRNAs: Tools for Protein Knockdown by Gene Silencing" siRNA does stand for small interfering RNA.

siRNA is used to silence genes via mRNA degredation:

NA interference (RNAi) is the process by which the expression of a target gene is effectively silenced or knocked down by the selective inactivation of its corresponding mRNA [...] The silencing mechanisms can either lead to the degradation of a target mRNA, as induced by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) or short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs), or the suppression of translation of specific mRNAs, as induced by microRNA (miRNA).

There are also Wikipedia articles discussing these concepts that didn't come up in my search somehow, but a colleague linked me to:


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