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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2007 Apr;10(2):199-203. Epub 2007 Mar 28.

Quelling: post-transcriptional gene silencing guided by small RNAs in Neurospora crassa.

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Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Cellulari ed Ematologia, Sezione di Genetica Molecolare, Università di Roma La Sapienza, Viale Regina Elena, 324, 00161, Roma, Italy.


The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa is a model organism for the study of gene silencing. The most characterized gene silencing mechanism in this ascomycete is quelling, which occurs at the post-transcriptional level. Quelling is triggered by the introduction of transgenes and results in silencing of both transgenes and cognate endogenous mRNAs. Quelling is related to co-suppression, observed in plants, and RNA interference in animals; it requires an Argonaute protein and acts by generating small RNA molecules (about 25 nt long), which in turn target mRNAs to be silenced. It has been recently shown that quelling is needed for the taming of transposons but, unlike other model organisms, does not seem to play any role in heterochromatin assembly and maintenance.

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