Dicer-independent, Ago2-mediated microRNA biogenesis in vertebrates

 Abstract

A canonical biogenesis pathway involving sequential cleavage by the Drosha and Dicer RNAse III enzymes governs the maturation of most animal microRNAs. However, there exist a variety of alternative miRNA biogenesis pathways, most of which bypass Drosha processing. Recently, three groups described for the first time a vertebrate microRNA pathway that bypasses Dicer cleavage. This mechanism was characterized with respect to the highly conserved vertebrate gene mir-451, for which Drosha processing yields a short (42 nucleotide) hairpin that is directly loaded into Ago2, the sole vertebrate "Slicer" Argonaute. Ago2-mediated cleavage of this hairpin yields a 30 nucleotide intermediate, whose 3' end is resected to generate the dominantly cloned ~23 nucleotide mature miR-451. Knowledge of this pathway provides an unprecedented tool with which to express microRNAs and small interfering RNAs in Dicer mutant cells. More generally, the mir-451 backbone constitutes a new platform for gene silencing that complements existing shRNA technology.

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4455 - 4460
doi
10.4161/cc.9.22.13958
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Dicer-independent, Ago2-mediated microRNA biogenesis in vertebrates