Editor's Summary

28 July 2005

Enhanced RNAi screening


The identification of proteins involved with synaptic transmission has been the subject of intense study for the past twenty years. These efforts have involved mainly biochemical strategies but now a genomic RNA interference (RNAi) screen has been used to identify 132 genes involved in the function or development of neuromuscular junctions in Caenorhabditis elegans; none had previously been implicated in synaptic transmission. This genomic scan was performed in enhanced RNAi mutants described in a companion paper, which presents the surprising discovery that retinoblastoma pathway genes negatively regulate RNAi. Retinoblastoma signalling prevents DNA damage from genotoxic insult and regulates responses to viral infection in mammals, so this work may be relevant to the important question of why RNAi pathways evolved in the first place.

News and ViewsNeuroscience:  Genomics reaches the synapse

A genomic survey uses innovative genetics to make neurons susceptible to RNA-mediated gene inactivation. The results implicate many genes in communication at the synapse between neurons and muscle.

Cori Bargmann

doi: 10.1038/436473a

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