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Science 293 (5531): 834-838

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

A Cellular Function for the RNA-Interference Enzyme Dicer in the Maturation of the let-7 Small Temporal RNA

György Hutvágner,1* Juanita McLachlan,1* Amy E. Pasquinelli,3 Éva Bálint,2 Thomas Tuschl,4 Phillip D. Zamore1dagger

The 21-nucleotide small temporal RNA (stRNA) let-7 regulates developmental timing in Caenorhabditis elegans and probably in other bilateral animals. We present in vivo and in vitro evidence that in Drosophila melanogaster a developmentally regulated precursor RNA is cleaved by an RNA interference-like mechanism to produce mature let-7 stRNA. Targeted destruction in cultured human cells of the messenger RNA encoding the enzyme Dicer, which acts in the RNA interference pathway, leads to accumulation of the let-7 precursor. Thus, the RNA interference and stRNA pathways intersect. Both pathways require the RNA-processing enzyme Dicer to produce the active small-RNA component that represses gene expression.

1 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology;
2 Department of Cell Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.
3 Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
4 Department of Cellular Biochemistry, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Am Fassberg 11, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany.
*   These authors contributed equally to this work.

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: phillip.zamore{at}

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