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      Chop, chop : RNA

      Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology

      Springer Nature America, Inc

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          The nuclear RNase III Drosha initiates microRNA processing.

          Hundreds of small RNAs of approximately 22 nucleotides, collectively named microRNAs (miRNAs), have been discovered recently in animals and plants. Although their functions are being unravelled, their mechanism of biogenesis remains poorly understood. miRNAs are transcribed as long primary transcripts (pri-miRNAs) whose maturation occurs through sequential processing events: the nuclear processing of the pri-miRNAs into stem-loop precursors of approximately 70 nucleotides (pre-miRNAs), and the cytoplasmic processing of pre-miRNAs into mature miRNAs. Dicer, a member of the RNase III superfamily of bidentate nucleases, mediates the latter step, whereas the processing enzyme for the former step is unknown. Here we identify another RNase III, human Drosha, as the core nuclease that executes the initiation step of miRNA processing in the nucleus. Immunopurified Drosha cleaved pri-miRNA to release pre-miRNA in vitro. Furthermore, RNA interference of Drosha resulted in the strong accumulation of pri-miRNA and the reduction of pre-miRNA and mature miRNA in vivo. Thus, the two RNase III proteins, Drosha and Dicer, may collaborate in the stepwise processing of miRNAs, and have key roles in miRNA-mediated gene regulation in processes such as development and differentiation.
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            A micrococcal nuclease homologue in RNAi effector complexes.

            RNA interference (RNAi) regulates gene expression by the cleavage of messenger RNA, by mRNA degradation and by preventing protein synthesis. These effects are mediated by a ribonucleoprotein complex known as RISC (RNA-induced silencing complex). We have previously identified four Drosophila components (short interfering RNAs, Argonaute 2 (ref. 2), VIG and FXR) of a RISC enzyme that degrades specific mRNAs in response to a double-stranded-RNA trigger. Here we show that Tudor-SN (tudor staphylococcal nuclease)--a protein containing five staphylococcal/micrococcal nuclease domains and a tudor domain--is a component of the RISC enzyme in Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila and mammals. Although Tudor-SN contains non-canonical active-site sequences, we show that purified Tudor-SN exhibits nuclease activity similar to that of other staphylococcal nucleases. Notably, both purified Tudor-SN and RISC are inhibited by a specific competitive inhibitor of micrococcal nuclease. Tudor-SN is the first RISC subunit to be identified that contains a recognizable nuclease domain, and could therefore contribute to the RNA degradation observed in RNAi.
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              Author and article information

              Journal
              Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
              Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol
              Springer Nature America, Inc
              1471-0072
              1471-0080
              November 2003
              November 1 2003
              November 2003
              : 4
              : 11
              : 829
              10.1038/nrm1251
              © 2003

              http://www.springer.com/tdm

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