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Biochem J. 2005 May 1;387(Pt 3):561-71.

Exploring the functions of RNA interference pathway proteins: some functions are more RISCy than others?

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2H7.


PPD (PAZ Piwi domain) proteins and the Dicer family have been the subjects of intense study over the last 6 years. These proteins have well-established roles in RNAi (RNA interference), a process that relies on siRNAs (small interfering RNAs) or miRNAs (microRNAs) to mediate specificity. The development of techniques for applying RNAi as a laboratory tool and a molecular therapeutic technique has rapidly outpaced our understanding of the biology of this process. However, over the last 2 years, great strides have been made towards elucidating how PPD proteins and Dicer regulate gene-silencing at the pre- and post-transcriptional levels. In addition, evidence is beginning to emerge that suggests that these proteins have additional siRNA-independent roles as cell-cycle regulators. In the present review, we summarize the well-known roles of these two classes of proteins in gene-silencing pathways, as well as explore the evidence for novel roles of PPD and Dicer proteins.

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