A major goal in cell biology is to understand the molecular mechanisms of the biological process under study, which requires functional information about the roles of individual proteins in the cell. For many non-genetic model organisms researchers have relied on the use of inhibitory reagents, such as antibodies that can be microinjected into cells. More recently, the advent of RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) has allowed scientists to knockdown individual proteins and to examine the consequences of the knockdown. In this chapter we present a comparison between microinjection of inhibitory reagents and RNAi for the analysis of protein function in mammalian tissue culture cells, providing both a description of the techniques as well as a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of each approach. In addition, we present a strategy to employ RNAi for organisms without a sequenced genome. While the focus of our research is on the organization of the mitotic spindle during cell division and thus the examples utilized are from that system, the approaches described here should be readily applicable to multiple experimental models.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology