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J Biol Chem. 2003 Nov 7;278(45):44312-9. Epub 2003 Sep 2.

Small RNAs with imperfect match to endogenous mRNA repress translation. Implications for off-target activity of small inhibitory RNA in mammalian cells.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.

Abstract

A 21-base pair RNA duplex that perfectly matches an endogenous target mRNA selectively degrades the mRNA and suppresses gene expression in mammalian tissue culture cells. A single base mismatch with the target is believed to protect the mRNA from degradation, making this type of interference highly specific to the targeted gene. A short RNA with mismatches to a target sequence present in multiple copies in the 3'-untranslated region of an exogenously expressed gene can, however, silence it by translational repression. Here we report that a mismatched RNA, targeted to a single site in the coding sequence of an endogenous gene, can efficiently silence gene expression by repressing translation. The antisense strand of such a mismatched RNA requires a 5'-phosphate but not a 3'-hydroxyl group. G.U wobble base pairing is tolerated as a match for both RNA degradation and translation repression. Together, these findings suggest that a small inhibitory RNA duplex can suppress expression of off-target cellular proteins by RNA degradation or translation repression. Proper design of experimental small inhibitory RNAs or a search for targets of endogenous micro-RNAs must therefore take into account that these short RNAs can affect expression of cellular genes with as many as 3-4 base mismatches and additional G.U mismatches.

PMID:
12952966
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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