Letter abstract

Nature Cell Biology 7, 719 - 723 (2005)
Published online: 5 June 2005 | doi:10.1038/ncb1274

MicroRNA-dependent localization of targeted mRNAs to mammalian P-bodies

Jidong Liu1, Marco Antonio Valencia-Sanchez2, Gregory J. Hannon1 & Roy Parker2


Small RNAs, including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) can silence target genes through several different effector mechanisms1. Whereas siRNA-directed mRNA cleavage is increasingly understood, the mechanisms by which miRNAs repress protein synthesis are obscure. Recent studies have revealed the existence of specific cytoplasmic foci, referred to herein as processing bodies (P-bodies), which contain untranslated mRNAs and can serve as sites of mRNA degradation2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Here we demonstrate that Argonaute proteins — the signature components of the RNA interference (RNAi) effector complex, RISC — localize to mammalian P-bodies. Moreover, reporter mRNAs that are targeted for translational repression by endogenous or exogenous miRNAs become concentrated in P-bodies in a miRNA-dependent manner. These results provide a link between miRNA function and mammalian P-bodies and suggest that translation repression by RISC delivers mRNAs to P-bodies, either as a cause or as a consequence of inhibiting protein synthesis.

  1. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Watson School of Biological Sciences, 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA.
  2. Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology & Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.

Correspondence to: Gregory J. Hannon1 e-mail: hannon@cshl.org

Correspondence to: Roy Parker2 e-mail: rrparker@u.arizona.edu


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