The Functions of MicroRNAs: mRNA Decay and Translational Repression

Trends in Cell Biology
Hiro-Oki Iwakawa, Yukihide Tomari


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous small noncoding RNAs, which regulate complementary mRNAs by inducing translational repression and mRNA decay. Although this dual repression system seems to operate in both animals and plants, genetic and biochemical studies suggest that the mechanism underlying the miRNA-mediated silencing is different in the two kingdoms. Here, we review the recent progress in our understanding of how miRNAs mediate translational repression and mRNA decay, and discuss the contributions of the two silencing modes to the overall silencing effect in both kingdoms.


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