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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Nov;1779(11):668-77. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2008.07.005. Epub 2008 Jul 22.

RISC-target interaction: cleavage and translational suppression.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Small RNA molecules have been known and utilized to suppress gene expression for more than a decade. The discovery that these small RNA molecules are endogenously expressed in many organisms and have a critical role in controlling gene expression has led to the arising of a whole new field of research. Termed small interfering RNA (siRNA) or microRNA (miRNA) these approximately 22 nt RNA molecules have the capability to suppress gene expression through various mechanisms once they are incorporated in the multi-protein RNA-Induced Silencing Complex (RISC) and interact with their target mRNA. This review introduces siRNAs and microRNAs in a historical perspective and focuses on the key molecules in RISC, structural properties and mechanisms underlying the process of small RNA regulated post-transcriptional suppression of gene expression.

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