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The study of the function of many human proteins is often hampered by technical limitations, such as cytotoxicity and phenotypes that result from overexpression of the protein of interest together with the endogenous version. Here we present the snoMEN (snoRNA Modulator of gene ExpressioN) vector technology for generating stable cell lines where expression of the endogenous protein can be reduced and replaced by an exogenous protein, such as a fluorescent protein (FP)-tagged version. SnoMEN are snoRNAs engineered to contain complementary sequences that can promote knock-down of targeted RNAs. We have established and characterised two such partial protein replacement human cell lines (snoMENPR). Quantitative mass spectrometry was used to analyse the specificity of knock-down and replacement at the protein level and also showed an increased pull-down efficiency of protein complexes containing exogenous, tagged proteins in the protein replacement cell lines, as compared with conventional co-expression strategies. The snoMEN approach facilitates the study of mammalian proteins, particularly those that have so far been difficult to investigate by exogenous expression and has wide applications in basic and applied gene-expression research.
- SMALL NUCLEOLAR RNAS