Editors' ChoiceGene Silencing

Opening Up the RNA Killing Machine

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Science's STKE  14 Aug 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 95, pp. tw4
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.95.tw4

Double-stranded RNA can direct the destruction of homologous messenger RNAs and thus silence gene expression, a process known as RNA interference. This phenomenon has been applied to target specific genes by using methods like those described in Worby et al. RNAi involves two steps. Double-stranded RNAs are processed into short ~21- to 23-nucleotide fragments by the Dicer nuclease (see "Dicing Developmental RNA"). These fragments are incorporated into the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) nuclease complex and guide it to the RNA to be destroyed. Hammond et al. report the purification of the RISC complex and identify one of its components as the protein Argonaut2. The interaction of Dicer and Argonaut2 may facilitate the incorporation of the ~21- to 23-nucleotide RNA fragments generated by Dicer into RISC.

S. M. Hammond, S. Boettcher, A. A. Caudy, R. Kobayashi, G. J. Hannon, Argonaute2, a link between genetic and biochemical analyses of RNAi. Science 293, 1146-1150 (2001). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Carolyn A. Worby, Nancy Simonson-Leff, Jack E. Dixon, RNA interference of gene expression (RNAi) in cultured Drosophila cells. Science's STKE (2001), http://www.stke.org/cgi/content/full/OC_sigtrans;2001/95/pl1. [Abstract] [Full Text]

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