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Genes Dev. 2004 Jan 15;18(2):132-7. Epub 2004 Jan 16.

The C. elegans microRNA let-7 binds to imperfect let-7 complementary sites from the lin-41 3'UTR.

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  • 1Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Caenorhabditis elegans let-7, a founding member of the microRNA family, is predicted to bind to six sites in the 3'UTR of the mRNA of its target gene, lin-41, to down-regulate LIN-41. Here, we demonstrate that wild-type let-7 microRNA binds in vitro to RNA from the lin-41 3'UTR. This interaction is dependent on two conserved let-7 complementary sites (LCSs). A 27-nucleotide sequence between the LCSs is also necessary for down-regulation in vivo. LCS mutations compensatory to the lesion in let-7(n2853) can partially restore lin-41 3'UTR function in a let-7(n2853) background, providing the first experimental evidence for an animal miRNA binding directly to its validated target in vivo.

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