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Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. 2019 May;10(3):e1521. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1521. Epub 2018 Dec 11.

Structure and function of Rnt1p: An alternative to RNAi for targeted RNA degradation.

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Microbiology and Infectiology Department, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.
Macromolecular Crystallography Laboratory, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland.


The double-stranded RNA-binding protein (dsRBP) family controls RNA editing, stability, and function in all eukaryotes. The central feature of this family is the recognition of a generic RNA duplex using highly conserved double-stranded RNA-binding domain (dsRBD) that recognizes the characteristic distance between the minor grooves created by the RNA helix. Variations on this theme that confer species and functional specificities have been reported but most dsRBPs retain their capacity to bind generic dsRNA. The ribonuclease III (RNase III) family members fall into four classes, represented by bacterial RNase III, yeast Rnt1p, human Drosha, and human Dicer, respectively. Like all dsRBPs and most members of the RNase III family, Rnt1p has a dsRBD, but unlike most of its kin, it poorly binds to generic RNA helices. Instead, Rnt1p, the only known RNase III expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that lacks the RNAi (RNA interference) machinery, recognizes a specific class of stem-loop structures. To recognize the specific substrates, the dsRBD of Rnt1p is specialized, featuring a αβββααα topology and a sequence-specific RNA-binding motif at the C-terminus. Since the discovery of Rnt1p in 1996, significant progress has been made in studies of its genetics, function, structure, and mechanism of action, explaining the reasons and mechanisms for the increased specificity of this enzyme and its impact on the mechanism of RNA degradation. This article is categorized under: RNA Turnover and Surveillance > Turnover/Surveillance Mechanisms RNA Interactions with Proteins and Other Molecules > Protein-RNA Recognition RNA Processing > Processing of Small RNAs RNA Interactions with Proteins and Other Molecules > RNA-Protein Complexes.


RNA degradation; RNA processing; RNase III; Rnt1p; dsRNA-binding protein


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