EXPLORING SMALL RNA SORTING IN PLANTS
Beamline 08B1-1 plays role in elucidating critical process involved in gene silencing.
Aug. 8, 2012
Small RNA molecules that occur naturally in animals and plants are critical for the regulation of eukaryotic cellular processes. They serve to silence gene expression in various ways including via chromosomal modifications and post-transcriptional effects. These small RNAs are typically 20-30 nucleotides in length and associate with Argonaute proteins to form the RNA-induced silencing complex. In order to function properly, the Argonaute protein must bind to the correct class of small RNA. The 5'-nucleotide of the small RNA is recognized by the MID domain in human Argonaute proteins and this is critical for the correct sorting and association. Now researchers have determined that a similar structural mechanism also occurs in plant Argonaute proteins and, because of the greater complexity of small RNAs in plants, recognition interactions appear to have a corresponding complexity all their own. PDB ID: 4g0x.EMBO J. 31(17), 3588-3595