In the previous funding period, we identified about 200 genes that act as protein coding cofactors for the function of miRNAs and siRNAs in C. elegans. Some of these proteins were identified in genetic screens for decrease in miRNA function, some in genetic screens for decrease in siRNA function, and some in genetic screens for increase in siRNA function. We propose to dissect in detail how these proteins orchestrate the production, trafficking, and function of small RNAs in both mRNA degradation, mRNA translational control, and control of gene expression. We also propose to discern how the miRNA and siRNA and other small RNA pathways may compete with each other for common cofactors, thus leading to an increase in function in one pathway, when the other pathways is debilitated. The genes identified in this study are likely to be key factors in the function of small RNAs in biology and thus their identification may enable more potent RNAi based drug development.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Molecular Genetics B Study Section (MGB)
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Bender, Michael T
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Massachusetts General Hospital
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