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Mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation by microRNAs: are the answers in sight?

Nature reviews. Genetics

biosynthesis, Ribonucleoproteins, physiology, RNA Stability, RNA Interference, Protein Biosynthesis, Models, Biological, MicroRNAs, metabolism, Inclusion Bodies, Humans, Cell Compartmentation, Base Pairing, Animals

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      MicroRNAs constitute a large family of small, approximately 21-nucleotide-long, non-coding RNAs that have emerged as key post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression in metazoans and plants. In mammals, microRNAs are predicted to control the activity of approximately 30% of all protein-coding genes, and have been shown to participate in the regulation of almost every cellular process investigated so far. By base pairing to mRNAs, microRNAs mediate translational repression or mRNA degradation. This Review summarizes the current understanding of the mechanistic aspects of microRNA-induced repression of translation and discusses some of the controversies regarding different modes of microRNA function.

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