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Biol Chem. 2002 Oct;383(10):1483-9.

RNA-mediated RNA degradation in transgene- and virus-induced gene silencing.

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  • 1Bayer BioScience NV, Jozef Plateaustraat 22, B-9000 Gent, Belgium.


In the 'RNA world' hypothesis it is postulated that RNA was the first genetic molecule. Recent discoveries in gene silencing research on plants, fungi and animals show that RNA indeed plays a key role not only in controlling invading nucleic acids, like viruses and transposable elements, but also in regulating the expression of transgenes and endogenous genes. Double-stranded RNAs were identified to be the triggering structures for the induction of a specific and highly efficient RNA silencing system, in which enzyme complexes, like Dicer and RISC, facilitate as 'molecular machines' the processing of dsRNA into characteristic small RNA species. RNA silencing can be transmitted rapidly from silenced to non-silenced cells by short and long distance signaling. There is evidence that at least one component of the signal is a specific, degradation-resistant RNA.

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