Ribonuclease III: new sense from nuisance

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2002 Feb;34(2):116-29. doi: 10.1016/s1357-2725(01)00112-1.


RNases play an important role in the processing of precursor RNAs, creating the mature, functional RNAs. The ribonuclease III family currently is one of the most interesting families of endoribonucleases. Surprisingly, RNase III is involved in the maturation of almost every class of prokaryotic and eukaryotic RNA. We present an overview of the various substrates and their processing. RNase III contains one of the most prominent protein domains used in RNA-protein recognition, the double-stranded RNA binding domain (dsRBD). Progress in the understanding of this domain is summarized. Furthermore, RNase III only recently emerged as a key player in the new exciting biological field of RNA silencing, or RNA interference. The eukaryotic RNase III homologues which are likely involved in this process are compared with the other members of the RNase III family.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Endoribonucleases / chemistry
  • Endoribonucleases / genetics
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary*
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • Ribonuclease III


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • RNA
  • Endoribonucleases
  • Ribonuclease III