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RNA. 2004 Oct;10(10):1518-25. Epub 2004 Aug 30.

Tethering of human Ago proteins to mRNA mimics the miRNA-mediated repression of protein synthesis.

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  • 1Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, P.O. Box 2543, 4002 Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are approximately 21-nt-long RNAs involved in regulating development, differentiation, and other processes in eukaryotes. In metazoa, nearly all miRNAs control gene expression by imperfectly base-pairing with the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of target mRNAs and repressing protein synthesis by an unknown mechanism. It is also unknown whether miRNA-mRNA duplexes containing mismatches and bulges provide specific features that are recognized by factors mediating the repression. miRNAs form part of ribonucleoprotein complexes, miRNPs, that contain Argonaute (Ago) and other proteins. Here we demonstrate that effects of miRNAs on translation can be mimicked in human HeLa cells by the miRNA-independent tethering of Ago proteins to the 3'-UTR of a reporter mRNA. Inhibition of protein synthesis occurred without a change in the reporter mRNA level and was dependent on the number, but not the position, of the hairpins tethering hAgo2 to the 3'-UTR. These findings indicate that a primary function of miRNAs is to guide their associated proteins to the mRNA.

Copyright 2004 RNA Society

PMID:
15337849
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1370638
Free PMC Article

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