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Plant J. 2009 Apr;58(1):165-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03767.x. Epub 2009 Jan 19.

Highly specific gene silencing by artificial microRNAs in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

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Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EA, UK.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs, 21 to 22 nucleotides long, with important regulatory roles. They are processed from longer RNA molecules with imperfectly matched foldback regions and they function in modulating the stability and translation of mRNA. Recently, we and others have demonstrated that the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, like diverse multicellular organisms, contains miRNAs. These RNAs resemble the miRNAs of land plants in that they direct site-specific cleavage of target mRNA with miRNA-complementary motifs and, presumably, act as regulatory molecules in growth and development. Utilizing these findings we have developed a novel artificial miRNA system based on ligation of DNA oligonucleotides that can be used for specific high-throughput gene silencing in green algae.

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