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Trends Cell Biol. 2007 Aug;17(8):411-6. Epub 2007 Sep 4.

GW182 family proteins are crucial for microRNA-mediated gene silencing.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.


microRNAs (miRNAs) are a conserved class of small RNAs approximately 22 nucleotides in length. They regulate the expression of a large number of mRNAs in animals and plants through the miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC). The conserved GW182 family of proteins has recently been identified, and its members have been shown to be associated with miRISC and to be required for miRNA-mediated gene silencing. These proteins have also been localized to processing bodies that are cytoplasmic messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) aggregates containing mRNA decay factors, translational repressors and untranslated mRNAs. Therefore, these properties of GW182 family proteins support the hypothesis that the formation of untranslatable messenger ribonuclear protein particles is one important mechanism of miRNA-mediated gene silencing.

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