Emerging novel functions of RNAs, and binary phenotype?

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10 Scopus citations


Loss-of-function technology has been one of the most popular knockout tools for the study of gene function in cell and developmental biology. This technology employs two basic approaches for elimination of the protein of interest. The morpholino antisense oligonucleotides approach relies on inhibiting translation of the given protein without degrading the cognate mRNA. The antisense deoxynucleotides and siRNA approach acts via removal of the mRNA template, which then prevents protein translation. In the latest approach, as well as in these genetic knockout approaches that eliminate or alter the level of mRNA transcribed from the gene of interest, the assumption is and always has been that the only relevant function of mRNA is to make a protein, and, thus, the effect of removing mRNA equals the effect of removing its protein function. However, the most recent studies of different biological systems point to completely novel and unexpected functions of the subpopulation of localized RNAs and suggest that, at least in some cases, the normal cell or embryo phenotype is in fact binary i.e. depends not only on the function of the protein but also on the autonomous function of its mRNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-404
Number of pages4
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 2008


  • Antisense oligonucleotides
  • Cytokeratin
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Drosophila
  • Microtubules
  • Morpholinos
  • RNA
  • siRNA
  • Structural RNA
  • Xenopus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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