An extensive class of small RNAs in Caenorhabditis elegans

Science. 2001 Oct 26;294(5543):862-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1065329.


The lin-4 and let-7 antisense RNAs are temporal regulators that control the timing of developmental events in Caenorhabditis elegans by inhibiting translation of target mRNAs. let-7 RNA is conserved among bilaterian animals, suggesting that this class of small RNAs [microRNAs (miRNAs)] is evolutionarily ancient. Using bioinformatics and cDNA cloning, we found 15 new miRNA genes in C. elegans. Several of these genes express small transcripts that vary in abundance during C. elegans larval development, and three of them have apparent homologs in mammals and/or insects. Small noncoding RNAs of the miRNA class appear to be numerous and diverse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Computational Biology
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA, Intergenic
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Library
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Organ Specificity
  • RNA Precursors / genetics
  • RNA Precursors / metabolism
  • RNA, Antisense / chemistry
  • RNA, Antisense / genetics
  • RNA, Antisense / metabolism
  • RNA, Helminth / chemistry
  • RNA, Helminth / genetics*
  • RNA, Helminth / metabolism
  • RNA, Untranslated / chemistry
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics*
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism


  • DNA, Intergenic
  • RNA Precursors
  • RNA, Antisense
  • RNA, Helminth
  • RNA, Untranslated