Researchers reveal Argonaute2 as the catalytic engine of mammalian RNA interference
RNA interference (RNAi) has emerged as a fundamentally important biological phenomenon and as a versatile, powerful tool for biomedical research. In organisms from fungi and flies to plants and mammals, RNAi plays a multifaceted role in molecular biology by silencing genes through chromatin remodeling, interfering with protein synthesis, and--in its best-studied mode of action--quashing gene expression by cleaving messenger RNA. Experimental applications of RNAi have spurred the exploration of gene function in many basic research, drug discovery, and clinical settings. Until now, however, the identity of the molecular scissors that carry out RNAi-mediated messenger RNA cleavage has not been revealed.
Two studies published this week in Science have resolved this mystery by establishing that Argonaute2, a signature protein component of the RNA interference machinery, provides the cutting action that carries out RNAi-mediated messenger RNA cleavage. The studies were conducted at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory by research groups led by Greg Hannon and Leemor Joshua-Tor.
Peter Sherwood | EurekAlert!
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