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Nuclear Export of MicroRNA Precursors

Science  02 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5654, pp. 95-98
DOI: 10.1126/science.1090599

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Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs), which function as regulators of gene expression in eukaryotes, are processed from larger transcripts by sequential action of nuclear and cytoplasmic ribonuclease III–like endonucleases. We show that Exportin-5 (Exp5) mediates efficient nuclear export of short miRNA precursors (pre-miRNAs) and that its depletion by RNA interference results in reduced miRNA levels. Exp5 binds correctly processed pre-miRNAs directly and specifically, in a Ran guanosine triphosphate–dependent manner, but interacts only weakly with extended pre-miRNAs that yield incorrect miRNAs when processed by Dicer in vitro. Thus, Exp5 is key to miRNA biogenesis and may help coordinate nuclear and cytoplasmic processing steps.

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