RNA Helicase MUT-14-Dependent Gene Silencing Triggered in C. elegans by Short Antisense RNAs

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Science  25 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5555, pp. 694-697
DOI: 10.1126/science.1067534

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Posttranscriptional gene silencing in Caenorhabditis elegans results from exposure to double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), a phenomenon designated as RNA interference (RNAi), or from co-suppression, in which transgenic DNA leads to silencing of both the transgene and the endogenous gene. Here we show that single-stranded RNA oligomers of antisense polarity can also be potent inducers of gene silencing. As is the case for co-suppression, antisense RNAs act independently of the RNAi genes rde-1 andrde-4 but require the mutator/RNAi gene mut-7 and a putative DEAD box RNA helicase, mut-14. Our data favor the hypothesis that gene silencing is accomplished by RNA primer extension using the mRNA as template, leading to dsRNA that is subsequently degraded.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed at Hubrecht Laboratory, Uppsalalaan 8, 3584 CT, Utrecht, Netherlands. E-mail: plasterk{at}

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