The Functions of MicroRNAs: mRNA Decay and Translational Repression

Trends Cell Biol. 2015 Nov;25(11):651-665. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2015.07.011. Epub 2015 Oct 1.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous small noncoding RNAs, which regulate complementary mRNAs by inducing translational repression and mRNA decay. Although this dual repression system seems to operate in both animals and plants, genetic and biochemical studies suggest that the mechanism underlying the miRNA-mediated silencing is different in the two kingdoms. Here, we review the recent progress in our understanding of how miRNAs mediate translational repression and mRNA decay, and discuss the contributions of the two silencing modes to the overall silencing effect in both kingdoms.

Keywords: AGO; Argonaute; RISC; RNA silencing; miRNA; plant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Argonaute Proteins / genetics
  • Argonaute Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Biosynthesis / physiology*
  • RNA Stability / physiology*


  • Argonaute Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • Plant Proteins