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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2005 Apr;12(4):340-9. Epub 2005 Mar 30.

Purified Argonaute2 and an siRNA form recombinant human RISC.

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Watson School of Biological Sciences, New York 11724, USA.


Genetic, biochemical and structural studies have implicated Argonaute proteins as the catalytic core of the RNAi effector complex, RISC. Here we show that recombinant, human Argonaute2 can combine with a small interfering RNA (siRNA) to form minimal RISC that accurately cleaves substrate RNAs. Recombinant RISC shows many of the properties of RISC purified from human or Drosophila melanogaster cells but also has surprising features. It shows no stimulation by ATP, suggesting that factors promoting product release are missing from the recombinant enzyme. The active site is made up of a unique Asp-Asp-His (DDH) motif. In the RISC reconstitution system, the siRNA 5' phosphate is important for the stability and the fidelity of the complex but is not essential for the creation of an active enzyme. These studies demonstrate that Argonaute proteins catalyze mRNA cleavage within RISC and provide a source of recombinant enzyme for detailed biochemical studies of the RNAi effector complex.

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