Tuesday 24 May 2005
Definition: Small non-coding RNAs have rapidly emerged as important contributors to gene regulation. To carry out their biological functions, these small RNAs require a unique class of proteins called Argonautes.
RNA silencing was discovered in plants as a mechanism whereby invading nucleic acids, such as transgenes and viruses, are silenced through the action of small (20-26 nt) homologous RNA molecules.
Endogenous silencing pathways have important roles in gene regulation at the transcriptional, RNA stability and translational levels. They share a common core of small RNA generator and effector proteins with multiple paralogs in plant genomes, some of which have acquired highly specialized functions.
Chapman EJ, Carrington JC. Specialization and evolution of endogenous small RNA pathways. Nat Rev Genet. 2007 Nov;8(11):884-96. PMID: 17943195