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Molecular basis for the single-nucleotide precision of primary microRNA processing

Cited 57 time in Web of Science Cited 58 time in Scopus

Kwon, S. Chul; Baek, S. Chan; Choi, Yeon-Gil; Yang, Jihye; Lee, Young-suk; Woo, Jae-Sung; Kim, V. Narry

Issue Date
Cell Press
Molecular Cell, Vol.73 No.3, pp.505-518.e5
Microprocessor, composed of DROSHA and its cofactor DGCR8, initiates microRNA(miRNA) biogenesis by processing the primary transcripts of miRNA (pri-miRNAs). Here we investigate the mechanism by which Microprocessor selects the cleavage site with single-nucleotide precision, which is crucial for the specificity and functionality of miRNAs. By testing similar to 40,000 pri-miRNA variants, we find that for some pri-miRNAs the cleavage site is dictated mainly by the mGHG motif embedded in the lower stem region of pri-miRNA. Structural modeling and deep-sequencing-based complementation experiments show that the double-stranded RNA-binding domain (dsRBD) of DROSHA recognizes mGHG to place the catalytic center in the appropriate position. The mGHG motif as well as the mGHG-recognizing residues in DROSHA dsRBD are conserved across eumetazoans, suggesting that this mechanism emerged in an early ancestor of the animal lineage. Our findings provide a basis for the understanding of miRNA biogenesis and rational design of accurate small-RNA-based gene silencing.
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  • College of Natural Sciences
  • School of Biological Sciences
Research Area Molecular Biology & Genetics


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