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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2006, Article ID 83757, 7 pages
Review Article

siRNA Efficiency: Structure or Sequence—That Is the Question

Institute for Chemistry and Biochemistry, Free University Berlin, Thielallee 63, Berlin 14195, Germany

Received 26 January 2006; Accepted 3 April 2006

Copyright © 2006 Jens Kurreck. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The triumphant success of RNA interference (RNAi) in life sciences is based on its high potency to silence genes in a sequence-specific manner. Nevertheless, the first task for successful RNAi approaches is the identification of highly active small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Early on, it has been found that the potency of siRNAs can vary drastically. Great progress was made when thermodynamic properties that influence siRNA activity were discovered. Design algorithms based on these parameters enhance the chance to generate potent siRNAs. Still, many siRNAs designed accordingly fail to silence their targeted gene, whereas others are highly efficient despite the fact that they do not fulfil the recommended criteria. Therefore, the accessibility of the siRNA-binding site on the target RNA has been investigated as an additional parameter which is important for RNAi-mediated silencing. These and other factors which are crucial for successful RNAi approaches will be discussed in the present review.