Getting to the root of miRNA-mediated gene silencing

Cell. 2008 Jan 11;132(1):9-14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.12.024.


MicroRNAs are approximately 22 nucleotide-long RNAs that silence gene expression posttranscriptionally by binding to the 3' untranslated regions of target mRNAs. Although much is known about their biogenesis and biological functions, the mechanisms allowing miRNAs to silence gene expression in animal cells are still under debate. Here, we discuss current models for miRNA-mediated gene silencing and formulate a hypothesis to reconcile differences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Silencing / physiology*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Protein Biosynthesis / genetics*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / genetics*
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • AGO1 protein, human
  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger