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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Jan 21;326(3):515-20.

Intronic microRNAs.

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Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033-9112, USA.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small single-stranded regulatory RNAs capable of interfering with intracellular mRNAs that contain partial complementarity, are useful for the design of new therapies against cancer polymorphism and viral mutation. MiRNA was originally discovered in the intergenic regions of the Caenorhabditis elegans genome as native RNA fragments that modulate a wide range of genetic regulatory pathways during animal development. However, neither RNA promoter nor polymerase responsible for miRNA biogenesis was determined. Recent findings of intron-derived miRNA in C. elegans, mouse, and human have inevitably led to an alternative pathway for miRNA biogenesis, which relies on the coupled interaction of Pol-II-mediated pre-mRNA transcription and intron excision, occurring in certain nuclear regions proximal to genomic perichromatin fibrils.

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