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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Oct;11(5):560-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.06.008. Epub 2008 Aug 6.

MicroRNA maturation and action--the expanding roles of ARGONAUTEs.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire, Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, INRA, 78026 Versailles Cedex, France.


MicroRNAs are endogenously produced 21-nt riboregulators that associate with ARGONAUTE (AGO) proteins to direct mRNA cleavage or repress translation of complementary RNAs. In addition to protein-coding gene repression, miRNA-directed regulation of non-protein-coding transcripts can incite production of trans-acting siRNA (tasiRNA) populations that themselves direct mRNA repression. Arabidopsis encodes 10 AGO proteins among which, AGO1, AGO7, and AGO10 have been implicated in miRNA-guided gene repression in vivo. Recent work has shown that AGO proteins discriminate their associated small RNA populations on the basis of size and 5'-terminal nucleotide identity, extending the roles of AGO proteins beyond small RNA action. Our expanding appreciation of miRNA-directed regulation during plant development and stress adaptations has placed miRNAs at the forefront of plant biology.

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