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Development. 2008 Apr;135(7):1201-14. doi: 10.1242/dev.005629. Epub 2008 Feb 20.

The growing catalog of small RNAs and their association with distinct Argonaute/Piwi family members.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Laboratory of RNA Molecular Biology, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, Box 186, New York, NY 10065, USA.


Several distinct classes of small RNAs, some newly identified, have been discovered to play important regulatory roles in diverse cellular processes. These classes include siRNAs, miRNAs, rasiRNAs and piRNAs. Each class binds to distinct members of the Argonaute/Piwi protein family to form ribonucleoprotein complexes that recognize partially, or nearly perfect, complementary nucleic acid targets, and that mediate a variety of regulatory processes, including transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene silencing. Based on the known relationship of Argonaute/Piwi proteins with distinct classes of small RNAs, we can now predict how many new classes of small RNAs or silencing processes remain to be discovered.

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