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Trends Biochem Sci. 2008 Oct;33(10):501-10. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2008.07.003. Epub 2008 Sep 9.

The exosome: a multipurpose RNA-decay machine.

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Centre for mRNP Biogenesis and Metabolism, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Aarhus, C.F. Møllers Alle, Bldg. 130, 8000 Aarhus C., Denmark.


The diversity of RNAs in the cell continues to amaze. In addition to the 'classic' species of mRNA, tRNA, rRNA, snRNA and snoRNA, it is now clear that the majority of genomic information is transcribed into RNA molecules. The resulting complexity of the transcriptome poses a serious challenge to cells because they must manage numerous RNA-processing reactions, yet, at the same time, eradicate surplus and aberrant material without destroying functional RNA. The 3'-->5' exonucleolytic RNA exosome is emerging as a major facilitator of such events. Recent structural and functional data regarding this fascinating complex and its many co-factors illuminate its diverse biochemical properties and indicate mechanisms by which RNAs are targeted for either processing or degradation.

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