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Science. 2008 May 30;320(5880):1185-90. doi: 10.1126/science.1159151. Epub 2008 May 15.

Widespread translational inhibition by plant miRNAs and siRNAs.

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Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes du CNRS, Unité Propre de Recherche 2357, 12 rue du Général Zimmer, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France.


High complementarity between plant microRNAs (miRNAs) and their messenger RNA targets is thought to cause silencing, prevalently by endonucleolytic cleavage. We have isolated Arabidopsis mutants defective in miRNA action. Their analysis provides evidence that plant miRNA-guided silencing has a widespread translational inhibitory component that is genetically separable from endonucleolytic cleavage. We further show that the same is true of silencing mediated by small interfering RNA (siRNA) populations. Translational repression is effected in part by the ARGONAUTE proteins AGO1 and AGO10. It also requires the activity of the microtubule-severing enzyme katanin, implicating cytoskeleton dynamics in miRNA action, as recently suggested from animal studies. Also as in animals, the decapping component VARICOSE (VCS)/Ge-1 is required for translational repression by miRNAs, which suggests that the underlying mechanisms in the two kingdoms are related.

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