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Oncogene. 2011 Apr 14;30(15):1733-43. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.572. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Human polynucleotide phosphorylase (hPNPase(old-35)): an evolutionary conserved gene with an expanding repertoire of RNA degradation functions.

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  • 1Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine, Richmond, VA 23298-0033, USA.


Human polynucleotide phosphorylase (hPNPase(old-35)) is an evolutionary conserved RNA-processing enzyme with expanding roles in regulating cellular physiology. hPNPase(old-35) was cloned using an innovative 'overlapping pathway screening' strategy designed to identify genes coordinately regulated during the processes of cellular differentiation and senescence. Although hPNPase(old-35) structurally and biochemically resembles PNPase of other species, overexpression and inhibition studies reveal that hPNPase(old-35) has evolved to serve more specialized and diversified functions in humans. Targeting specific mRNA or non-coding small microRNA, hPNPase(old-35) modulates gene expression that in turn has a pivotal role in regulating normal physiological and pathological processes. In these contexts, targeted overexpression of hPNPase(old-35) represents a novel strategy to selectively downregulate RNA expression and consequently intervene in a variety of pathophysiological conditions.

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