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FEBS Lett. 2005 Oct 31;579(26):5850-7. Epub 2005 Sep 20.

Small RNA asymmetry in RNAi: function in RISC assembly and gene regulation.

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  • 1University of Dundee, School of Life Sciences, Division of Gene Regulation and Expression, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK.


RNAi is a conserved gene-specific regulatory mechanism, which silences target gene expression transcriptionally and post-transcriptionally. The RNAi machinery converts the sequence specific information of a long double stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) into small 21-22 nt long dsRNAs (siRNAs, miRNAs) which assemble into an effector complex, the RNA induced silencing complex (RISC). RISC assembly is asymmetric; one strand of an siRNA or a miRNA preferentially incorporates into the RNA-protein complex. Here, I review the rules of the asymmetric RISC formation and discuss their possible regulatory function in several steps in RNAi.

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