New small RNAs found

December 15, 2005

Dr. Kathleen Collins and a graduate researcher in her lab at UC Berkeley have identified a second RNAi pathway in Tetrahymena thermophilia - introducing a heretofore unprecedented layer of complexity to small RNA biology in unicellular organisms.

The researchers describe a distinct class of 23-24-nt small RNAs that accumulate ubiquitously throughout the Tetrahymena life cycle. This novel class of small RNAs has unique features compared with the previously identified class of 27-30-nt RNAs in Tetrahymena, suggesting that they participate in a second, distinct RNAi pathway.

Suzanne Lee, first author on the study, explains that "further study of this new class of small RNAs will allow us to elucidate the diversity of sRNA functions in Tetrahymena and discover mechanisms for biogenesis and regulation with potential implications for sRNAs in other systems."
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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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