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Electronic Journal of Biotechnology
Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
ISSN: 0717-3458
Vol. 7, No. 3, 2004, pp. 324-335
Bioline Code: ej04037
Full paper language: English
Document type: Review Article
Document available free of charge

Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2004, pp. 324-335

 en Mechanisms and roles of the RNA-based gene silencing
Jana, Snehasis; Chakraborty, Chiranjib & Nandi, Shyamsundar


RNA silencing is a remarkable type of gene regulation. This process has been found to occur in many different organisms such as plants (co-suppression), fungi (quelling), and animals (RNA interference; RNAi). Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a potent trigger in RNA silencing mechanisms operating in a wide range of organisms. This mechanism recognizes dsRNA and processes them into small 21-25nt RNAs (smRNAs). Small RNAs can guide post-transcriptional degradation of complementary messenger RNAs and in plants, transcriptional gene silencing is occurred by methylation of homologous DNA sequences. In plants, it serves as an antiviral defense, and many plant viruses encode suppressors of silencing such as helper component-proteinase of potyviruses (HC-Pro) and the p25 protein encoded by potato virus X (PVX). HC-Pro acts by preventing accumulation of smRNAs that provide specificity determinant for homologous RNA degradation, but p25 viral protein acts by targeting the mobile silencing signal. The encouraging view is that RNA silencing is part of a sophisticated network of interconnected pathways for cellular defense and development and that it may become a powerful tool to manipulate gene expression experimentally.

double stranded RNA, post-transcriptional gene silencing, RNA interference, transcriptional gene silencing

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