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Trends Biochem Sci. 1993 Nov;18(11):419-23.

What makes an mRNA anti-sense-itive?

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Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Martinsried, Germany.


Antisense RNA has been used for some time as a versatile tool for silencing gene expression. There is ample evidence for gene regulation by endogenous antisense transcripts in prokaryotes and increasing insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying such regulation. The introduction of antisense gene constructs into eukaryotes has now become routine but the mechanisms by which gene expression is inhibited are barely understood. In recent years, several examples of endogenous eukaryotic antisense transcripts have been discovered, some of which probably serve regulatory functions. Here we will discuss a model to explain mechanisms of antisense-mediated gene silencing.

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