MicroRNA genes are transcribed by RNA polymerase II

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) constitute a large family of noncoding RNAs that function as guide molecules in diverse gene silencing pathways. Current efforts are focused on the regulatory function of miRNAs, while little is known about how these unusual genes themselves are regulated. Here we present the first direct evidence that miRNA genes are transcribed by RNA polymerase II (pol II). The primary miRNA transcripts (pri-miRNAs) contain cap structures as well as poly(A) tails, which are the unique properties of class II gene transcripts. The treatment of human cells with alpha-amanitin decreased the level of pri-miRNAs at a concentration that selectively inhibits pol II activity. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses show that pol II is physically associated with a miRNA promoter. We also describe, for the first time, the detailed structure of a miRNA gene by determining the promoter and the terminator of mir-23asimilar to27asimilar to24-2. These data indicate that pol II is the main, if not the only, RNA polymerase for miRNA gene transcription. Our study offers a basis for understanding the structure and regulation of miRNA genes.
Publisher
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
Issue Date
2004-10
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Keywords

NUCLEAR EXPORT; CAENORHABDITIS-ELEGANS/; C-ELEGANS; INTERFERENCE; IDENTIFICATION; EXPRESSION; MATURATION; BIOGENESIS; PRECURSORS; PROMOTER

Citation

EMBO JOURNAL, v.23, no.20, pp.4051 - 4060

ISSN
0261-4189
DOI
10.1038/sj.emboj.7600385
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/221055
Appears in Collection
MSE-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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