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Large-scale RNAi functional genomics platform the focus of new partnership


Montreal, QC – The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Universite de Montreal has formed a partnership with Genome Quebec and Sigma-Aldrich to expand its large-scale RNA interference (RNAi) functional genomics platform.

The project’s funding totals $8.1 millions over a period of three years, and will allow IRIC to add the human and mouse genomes to the sets of genes that can be targeted using its high-throughput RNAi screening facility.

As part of the agreement, Sigma-Aldrich will provide IRIC with its entire human and mouse Mission(TM) TRC DNA-based libraries and IRIC will generate arrayed libraries of lentiviral particles expressing RNAi molecules against 15,000 genes from each species. Using lentiviral particles as delivery tools allows RNAi experiments to be performed in cells otherwise not amenable to RNAi screening, including cells from patient biopsies and stem cells.

“Thanks to this partnership with Genome Quebec and Sigma-Aldrich, IRIC will become the first research institution in Canada to offer a validated, lentivirus-based RNAi technology platform that can be used to elucidate important biological mechanisms, in particular signalling pathways in normal and cancer cells,” says Dr Sylvain Meloche, principal investigator in the Signalling and Cell Growth Laboratory at IRIC and co-leader of the project with Dr Daniel Lamarre, principal investigator in the Molecular Immunovirology Laboratory at IRIC.

The first screen using this resource will be carried out jointly by Drs Meloche and Lamarre, whose teams will be conducting a particularly innovative genome-wide RNAi screen for genes that regulate the proliferation and self-renewal of liver cancer stem cells. IRIC is committed to providing broad access to its state-of-the-art functional genomics platform.