We have started this blog as a simple, unobtrusive conduit that enables us to talk directly to our customers, collaborators, and other interested researchers about new and interesting developments related to Cellecta’s technology and business. As the first post, we thought we would tell you about our recent agreement with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) that provides support to laboratories in their institution doing genome-wide RNAi screenings using our expanding portfolio of open-access DECIPHER™ pooled lentiviral shRNA expression libraries.
Although the plasmid versions of the DECIPHER shRNA library “modules” are available free-of-charge to any academic laboratory though the DECIPHER Project (www.decipherproject.net), the DECIPHER Technology Access and Maintenance (TAM) Program, which the RPCI just joined, lets them make this screening technology accessible through a well-supported centralized core facility. The DECIPHER TAM Program enables us to provide this institution with new modules of the packaged, ready-to-use shRNA expression libraries as they are developed, proactive support for all the labs using these resources, updates on new technological developments and protocols, and access to the latest software to analyze screening results.
Currently, as part of the open-access DECIPHER Project, there are 4 pooled shRNA library modules freely available—two modules targeting 10,000 human genes and two targeting 10,000 mouse genes. Each individual library module targets approximately 5,000 well-annotated genes with 27,500 shRNAs (5-6 shRNA target each transcript). Human and mouse 1 modules target that same set of genes related to signal transduction and cancer. The second modules target a broader range of genes that appear to be involved in disease processes and pathology but were not targeted in the first module. In a few weeks, we will release a human module 3 targeting 5,000 genes. Ultimately, there will be 5 modules targeting all human genes. As with all of our libraries, we utilize bar-coded inserts and have checked the quality of the DECIPHER modules using HT sequencing to ensure all shRNA sequences are present at sufficient levels to ensure comprehensive screening of the targeted gene set.
The ability to identify genes with specific functional activities makes screening with pooled shRNA expression libraries a very powerful technique to investigate the genetic controls regulating a wide range of biological responses. However, effective screening can be technically challenging. While the DECIPHER Project is helping to fulfill our goal to make basic tools for this type of analysis readily available to all labs, the DECIPHER TAM Program allows us to provide the resources and support that will empower labs to utilize these RNAi screening tools to their maximum potential. We are really looking forward to working with RPCI on this program.
More information about the DECIPHER Project can be found on www.decipherproject.net.