The broad application of RNA interference for disease prevention is dependent upon the
production of dsRNA in an economically feasible, scalable, and sustainable fashion, as well as the
identification of safe and effective methods for RNA delivery. Current research has sparked interest in
the use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for these applications. This review examines the potential for
commercial development of yeast interfering RNA expression and delivery systems. S. cerevisiae is a
genetic model organism that lacks a functional RNA interference system, which may make it an ideal
system for expression and accumulation of high levels of recombinant interfering RNA. Moreover, recent
studies in a variety of eukaryotic species suggest that this microbe may be an excellent and safe
system for interfering RNA delivery. Key areas for further research and development include optimization
of interfering RNA expression in S. cerevisiae, industrial-sized scaling of recombinant yeast
cultures in which interfering RNA molecules are expressed, the development of methods for largescale
drying of yeast that preserve interfering RNA integrity, and identification of encapsulating
agents that promote yeast stability in various environmental conditions. The genetic tractability of S.
cerevisiae and a long history of using this microbe in both the food and pharmaceutical industry will
facilitate further development of this promising new technology, which has many potential applications
of medical importance.
Keywords: RNAi, shRNA, gene therapy, Aedes aegypti, Anopheles gambiae, mosquito, biopharmaceutical, bioengineering.
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