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Trends Cell Biol. 2010 Jan;20(1):52-61. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2009.10.004. Epub 2009 Dec 11.

Nuclear networking fashions pre-messenger RNA and primary microRNA transcripts for function.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06536, USA.


The expression of protein-coding genes is enhanced by the exquisite coupling of transcription by RNA polymerase II with pre-messenger RNA processing reactions, such as 5'-end capping, splicing and 3'-end formation. Integration between cotranscriptional processing events extends beyond the nucleus, as proteins that bind cotranscriptionally can affect the localization, translation and degradation of the mature messenger RNA. MicroRNAs are RNA polymerase II transcripts with crucial roles in the regulation of gene expression. Recent data demonstrate that processing of primary microRNA transcripts might be yet another cotranscriptional event that is woven into this elaborate nuclear network. This review discusses the extensive molecular interactions that couple the earliest steps in gene expression and therefore influence the final fate and function of the mature messenger RNA or microRNA produced.

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