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FEBS Lett. 2005 Oct 31;579(26):5822-9. Epub 2005 Sep 27.

Dicing and slicing: the core machinery of the RNA interference pathway.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


RNA interference (RNAi) is broadly defined as a gene silencing pathway that is triggered by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Many variations have been described on this theme. The dsRNA trigger can be supplied exogenously, as an experimental tool, or can derive from the genome in the form of microRNAs. Gene silencing can be the result of nucleolytic degradation of the mRNA, or by translational suppression. At the heart of the pathway are two ribonuclease machines. The ribonuclease III enzyme Dicer initiates the RNAi pathway by generating the active short interfering RNA trigger. Silencing is effected by the RNA-induced silencing complex and its RNaseH core enzyme Argonaute. This review describes the discovery of these machines and discusses future lines of work on this amazing biochemical pathway.

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