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Mol Cell. 2002 Sep;10(3):537-48.

Evidence that siRNAs function as guides, not primers, in the Drosophila and human RNAi pathways.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.

Abstract

In Drosophila, two features of small interfering RNA (siRNA) structure--5' phosphates and 3' hydroxyls--are reported to be essential for RNA interference (RNAi). Here, we show that as in Drosophila, a 5' phosphate is required for siRNA function in human HeLa cells. In contrast, we find no evidence in flies or humans for a role in RNAi for the siRNA 3' hydroxyl group. Our in vitro data suggest that in both flies and mammals, each siRNA guides endonucleolytic cleavage of the target RNA at a single site. We conclude that the underlying mechanism of RNAi is conserved between flies and mammals and that RNA-dependent RNA polymerases are not required for RNAi in these organisms.

PMID:
12408822
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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