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Indian J Biochem Biophys. 1996 Aug;33(4):253-60.

The multifaceted roles of the RNA processing enzyme ribonuclease III.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Ribonuclease III was initially characterized as an endoribonuclease specific for double stranded RNA. Subsequently RNase III was found to be involved in the processing and maturation of ribosomal and tRNAs. Recent studies demonstrate that RNase III also participates in the processing of small stable RNAs. A number of other biological processes in which RNase III participates are: (a), conversion of polycistronic transcript of the bacteriophage T7 early region into discrete monocistronic mRNAs, (b), controlling expression of a variety of genes by processing of gene transcripts, (c), autoregulation of its own gene and (d), regulation of mRNA stability and stimulation of translation. No single processing enzyme displays such a wide variety of roles in RNA metabolism and gene expression as RNA processing enzyme ribonuclease III. This review provides an account of the various roles of RNase III in regulating gene expression and RNA metabolism.

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