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      Joan Steitz: RNA is a many-splendored thing

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      The Journal of Cell Biology
      The Rockefeller University Press

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          Abstract

          Steitz has spent her career uncovering RNA's different cellular avocations.

          Abstract

          Steitz has spent her career uncovering RNA's different cellular avocations.

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          Most cited references6

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          Switching from repression to activation: microRNAs can up-regulate translation.

          AU-rich elements (AREs) and microRNA target sites are conserved sequences in messenger RNA (mRNA) 3' untranslated regions (3'UTRs) that control gene expression posttranscriptionally. Upon cell cycle arrest, the ARE in tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) mRNA is transformed into a translation activation signal, recruiting Argonaute (AGO) and fragile X mental retardation-related protein 1 (FXR1), factors associated with micro-ribonucleoproteins (microRNPs). We show that human microRNA miR369-3 directs association of these proteins with the AREs to activate translation. Furthermore, we document that two well-studied microRNAs-Let-7 and the synthetic microRNA miRcxcr4-likewise induce translation up-regulation of target mRNAs on cell cycle arrest, yet they repress translation in proliferating cells. Thus, activation is a common function of microRNPs on cell cycle arrest. We propose that translation regulation by microRNPs oscillates between repression and activation during the cell cycle.
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            How ribosomes select initiator regions in mRNA: base pair formation between the 3' terminus of 16S rRNA and the mRNA during initiation of protein synthesis in Escherichia coli.

            Initiation complexes formed by E. coli ribosomes in the presence of 32P-labeled A protein initiator region from R17 bacteriophage Rna have been treated with colicin E3 and disassembled by exposure to 1% sodium dodecyl sulfate. Electrophoresis on 9% polyacrylamide gels reveals a dissociable complex containing the 30-nucleotide-long messenger fragment and the 50-nucleotide-long colicin fragment, which arises from the 3' terminus of the 16S RNA. The complex is a pure RNA-RNA hybird; it is apparently maintained by a seven-base complementarity between the two RNA fragments. Detection of this mRNA-rRNA complex strongly supports the hypothesis that during the initiation step of protein biosynthesis the 3' end of 16S RNA base pairs with the polypurine stretch common to initiator regions in E. coli and bacteriophage mRNAs. The implications of our findings with respect to the molecular mechanism of initiation site selection and mRNA binding to ribosomes, the role of rRNA in ribosome function, and species specificity in translation are explored.
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              Are snRNPs involved in splicing?

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Cell Biol
                jcb
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                0021-9525
                1540-8140
                7 March 2011
                : 192
                : 5
                : 708-709
                Author notes

                Text and Interview by Caitlin Sedwick

                Article
                1925pi
                10.1083/jcb.1925pi
                3051824
                21383073
                107fb2ec-094e-416f-99aa-001477e2e7a6
                © 2011 The Rockefeller University Press
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