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MicroRNA degradation and turnover: regulating the regulators

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Abstract MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, small noncoding RNAs that play important regulatory roles in gene expression. The control of miRNA biogenesis has been well characterized, but their degradation is not fully understood. Recent discoveries indicate that miRNAs have a long life span in general. However, rapid turnover dynamics of miRNAs in a variety of specific cellular contexts has been documented, as well as the requirement of sequence elements for miRNA decay. Furthermore, several ribonucleases that degrade miRNAs have been identified. Here, we discuss the cellular contexts and biochemical mechanisms of miRNA decay, together with several prominent questions in this field. WIREs RNA 2012, 3:593–600. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1114 This article is categorized under: RNA Turnover and Surveillance > Turnover/Surveillance Mechanisms Regulatory RNAs/RNAi/Riboswitches > Regulatory RNAs

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A cartoon depicting biochemical pathways for miRNA decay. The miRNAs can be degraded from either 5′ end (left branch) or 3′ end (right branch). Exoribonuclease XRN1 and XRN2 facilitate the dissociation of miRNAs from miRISC and cut miRNAs in the 5′ → 3′ direction. PNPT1 can degrade specific miRNAs in the 3′ → 5′ direction. A potential factor (denoted as ‘?’) may cooperate with PNPT1 to achieve specificity.

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RNA Turnover and Surveillance > Turnover/Surveillance Mechanisms
Regulatory RNAs/RNAi/Riboswitches > Regulatory RNAs

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