A Cellular Function for the RNA-Interference Enzyme Dicer in the Maturation of the let-7 Small Temporal RNAGyörgy Hutvágner, Juanita McLachlan, Amy E. Pasquinelli, Éva Bálint, Thomas Tuschl, Phillip D. Zamore
The 21-nucleotide small temporal RNA (stRNA) let-7 regulates developmental timing in Caenorhabditis elegans and probably in other bilateral animals. We present in vivo and in vitro evidence that in Drosophila melanogaster a developmentally regulated precursor RNA is cleaved by an RNA interference-like mechanism to produce mature let-7 stRNA. Targeted destruction in cultured human cells of the messenger RNA encoding the enzyme Dicer, which acts in the RNA interference pathway, leads to accumulation of the let-7 precursor. Thus, the RNA interference and stRNA pathways intersect. Both pathways require the RNA-processing enzyme Dicer to produce the active small-RNA component that represses gene expression.