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RNAi: An innate gene knockdown mechanism

Author(s): Thangavelu Srinivasan | Dorairaj Sudarsanam

Journal: Research in Biotechnology
ISSN 2229-791X

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 75;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: RNA interference (RNAi) | Gene Silencing | Methylation | Transcriptional Gene Silencing (TGS) | Post Transcriptional Gene Silencing (PTGS)

RNA interference (RNAi) is an evolutionary conserved mechanism in alleukaryotic cells whose role is to down-regulate the gene expression in the nucleus knownas Transcriptional Gene silencing (TGS) and in the cytoplasm known as PostTranscriptional Gene Silencing (PTGS). It can occur at different stages of cell cyclesduring cell proliferation, developmental stage and cell death. An artificially inducedDouble Stranded RNA (dsRNA) in a eukaryotic organism like C. elegans can also causeRNAi by sequence specific gene silencing. The Double Stranded RNA (dsRNA) derivedsmall RNAs (19-28nt in length) along with Argonaute protein, Dicer (RNase III likeenzyme) and other cofactors act as molecular scissors which degrade the homologousmRNA. This effector-protein complex is termed as RNA-induced silencing complex(RISC) which searches for the homologous transcripts of mRNA to degrade them. TheSmall RNA which might be either a Small Interference RNA (siRNA) or a microRNA(miRNA) along with the effector complex directs the endonuclease cleavage to occur onthe target mRNA thereby preventing the expression of transcripts. This overall process istermed as RNAi (RNA interference).
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