The microRNA world: Small is mighty

Peter Nelson, Marianthi Kiriakidou, Anup Sharma, Elsa Maniataki, Zissimos Mourelatos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

272 Scopus citations


A new paradigm of RNA-directed gene expression regulation has emerged recently, profound in scope but arresting in the apparent simplicity of its core mechanism. Cells express numerous small (∼22 nucleotide) RNAs that act as specificity determinants to direct destruction or translational repression of their mRNA targets. These small RNAs arise from processing of double-stranded RNA by the Dicer nuclease and incorporate with proteins that belong to the Argonaute family. Small RNAs might also target and silence homologous DNA sequences. The immense potential of small RNAs as controllers of gene networks is just beginning to unfold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-540
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Biochemical Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We apologize to those whose work could not be cited because of space limitations. Supported by NIH grants to P.N. (5T32-AG00255), M.K. (5T32-AR07442) and Z.M. (NS02199) and by a University of Pennsylvania Genomics Institute award to Z.M.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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