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.