RNase III enzymes and the initiation of gene silencing

Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2004 Mar;11(3):214-8. doi: 10.1038/nsmb729.


Our understanding of RNA interference has been enhanced by new data concerning RNase III molecules. The role of Dicer has previously been established in RNAi as the originator of 22-mers characteristic of silencing phenomena. Recently, a related RNAse III enzyme, Drosha, has surfaced as another component of the RNAi pathway. In addition to biochemistry, protein structures have proven to be helpful in deciphering the enzymology of RNase III molecules.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Silencing*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Models, Genetic
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Ribonuclease III / metabolism
  • Ribonuclease III / physiology*


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Ribonuclease III