It has long been appreciated that gene expression is regulated by protein complexes at promoters. More recently, research has demonstrated that small duplex RNAs such as micro-RNAs and short interfering RNAs complementary to mRNA provide another layer of regulation. Evidence now supports the existence of regulatory pathways that use small duplex RNAs to control transcription. Synthetic RNAs complementary to gene promoters [antigene RNAs (agRNAs)] can either activate or inhibit gene expression. Activity of agRNAs is mediated by argonaute, a protein required for RNA interference. Unlike protein transcription factors, agRNAs do not bind to chromosomal DNA but recognize noncoding transcripts that overlap gene promoters or 3′-gene termini. This review describes recent studies with agRNAs and focuses on the robust and potent agRNA-mediated regulation of progesterone receptor. The ability of small RNAs to alter transcription provides a new layer of potential regulation for gene expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology