Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rnai- A Most Valuable Player

Rnai Discovery Animation is the title of this blog entry at BioSolutions. Rnai is a valued research tool which can be used to manipulate gene expression, thereby yielding information about cellular functions. From the linked article:


The RNAi pathway is initiated by the enzyme dicer, which cleaves double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) to short double-stranded fragments of 20–25 base pairs. One of the two strands of each fragment, known as the guide strand, is then incorporated into the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) and base-pairs with complementary sequences. The most well-studied outcome of this recognition event is a form of post-transcriptional gene silencing. This occurs when the guide strand base pairs with a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule and induces degradation of the mRNA by argonaute, the catalytic component of the RISC complex. The short RNA fragments are known as small interfering RNA (siRNA) which are perfectly complementary to the gene to which they are suppressing as they are derived from long dsRNA of that same gene or MicroRNA (miRNA) which are derived from the intragenic regions or an intron and are thus only partially complementary. The RNAi pathway has been particularly well-studied in certain model organisms such as the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

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