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Cutting down Scarecrows

Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) have been found in plants, animals and microorganisms, but very few have been functionally characterized. In the September 20 Science, Llave et al. describe a specific function for the Arabidopsis miRNA 39, which accumulates in inflorescence tissue and is produced from an intergenic region in chromosome III (Science 2002, 297:2053-2056). The miRNA 39 sequence is perfectly complementary to an internal sequence in mRNAs encoding three members of the Scarecrow-like (SCL) transcription factor family. Llave et al. show that miRNA 39 guides the internal cleavage of target SCL mRNAs; they propose that miRNA 39 activity might involve the RISC complex (RNA-induced silencing complex) used in RNA silencing.


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Weitzman, J.B. Cutting down Scarecrows. Genome Biol 3, spotlight-20020920-01 (2002).

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  • Transcription Factor
  • Specific Function
  • Intergenic Region
  • Factor Family
  • Transcription Factor Family