Post-transcriptional Gene Silencing by siRNAs and miRNAs

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2005 Jun;15(3):331-41. doi: 10.1016/


Recent years have seen a rapid increase in our understanding of how double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and 21- to 25-nucleotide small RNAs, microRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), control gene expression in eukaryotes. This RNA-mediated regulation generally results in sequence-specific inhibition of gene expression; this can occur at levels as different as chromatin modification and silencing, translational repression and mRNA degradation. Many details of the biogenesis and function of miRNAs and siRNAs, and of the effector complexes with which they associate have been elucidated. The first structural information on protein components of the RNA interference (RNAi) and miRNA machineries is emerging, and provides some insight into the mechanism of RNA-silencing reactions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / chemistry*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA Interference / physiology*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / chemistry*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
  • Ribonuclease III / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Ribonuclease III