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Trends Microbiol. 2014 Feb;22(2):74-83. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2013.12.003. Epub 2014 Jan 14.

Planting the seed: target recognition of short guide RNAs.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, Dreijenplein 10, 6703 HB Wageningen, The Netherlands.
2
Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, Dreijenplein 10, 6703 HB Wageningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: stan.brouns@wur.nl.

Abstract

Small guide RNAs play important roles in cellular processes such as regulation of gene expression and host defense against invading nucleic acids. The mode of action of small RNAs relies on protein-assisted base pairing of the guide RNA with target mRNA or DNA to interfere with their transcription, translation, or replication. Several unrelated classes of small noncoding RNAs have been identified including eukaryotic RNA silencing-associated small RNAs, prokaryotic small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs), and prokaryotic CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) RNAs (crRNAs). All three groups identify their target sequence by base pairing after finding it in a pool of millions of other nucleotide sequences in the cell. In this complicated target search process, a region of 6-12 nucleotides (nt) of the small RNA termed the 'seed' plays a critical role. We review the concept of seed sequences and discuss its importance for initial target recognition and interference.

KEYWORDS:

Argonaute; CRISPR; Cas9; Cascade; Hfq; RNAi

PMID:
24440013
DOI:
10.1016/j.tim.2013.12.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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