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Silencing of Disease-related Genes by Small Interfering RNAs

[ Vol. 4 , Issue. 5 ]


U. Fuchs, C. Damm-Welk and A. Borkhardt   Pages 507 - 517 ( 11 )


In recent years a new mechanism of posttranscriptional gene silencing has been discovered and named RNA interference. The interference is based on mRNA degradation mediated by small double-stranded RNA molecules approximately 21 nucleotides in length, the so-called short interfering or siRNAs. These molecules are produced from long dsRNAs by Dicer, a dsRNA-specific endonuclease, and cause specific degradation of their mRNA-targets by Watson-Crick base-pairing within a 300 kD multi-enzyme complex named RISC. RNAi is highly conserved between plants and animals of various phyla including mammals. The high sequence-specificity of RNAi makes it a new, promising tool in gene-function analysis as well as in potential therapeutics. In this review the discovery and molecular background of RNAi are summarized and possible fields of application pointed out.


rnai, dicer, risc, ptgs, cancer, treatment strategies


Pediatric Hematology&Oncology, Children's University Hospital Giessen, Feulgenstrasse12, 35392 Giessen, Germany

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