PerspectiveMolecular Biology

Paring MiRNAs Through Pairing

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Science  18 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5985, pp. 1494-1495
DOI: 10.1126/science.1191531

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) repress gene expression by forming base pairs with specific sequences in protein-coding messenger RNAs (mRNAs). The degree of complementarity between a miRNA and its target mRNA determines the mechanism of posttranscriptional regulation (1). Nearly perfect pairing induces cleavage of the target mRNA, whereas partial pairing results in translational repression and mRNA decay through deadenylation pathways. On pages 1534 and 1563 of this issue, Ameres et al. (2) and Cazalla et al. (3) reveal that, surprisingly, the extent of base-pairing also affects stability of the miRNA itself.