Evidence that siRNAs function as guides, not primers, in the Drosophila and human RNAi pathways

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Molecular Cell, 2002, 10 (3), pp. 537 - 548
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In Drosophila, two features of small interfering RNA (siRNA) structure - 5′ phosphates and 3′ hydroxyls - are reported to be essential for RNA interference (RNAi). Here, we show that as in Drosophila, a 5′ phosphate is required for siRNA function in human HeLa cells. In contrast, we find no evidence in flies or humans for a role in RNAi for the siRNA 3′ hydroxyl group. Our in vitro data suggest that in both flies and mammals, each siRNA guides endonucleolytic cleavage of the target RNA at a single site. We conclude that the underlying mechanism of RNAi is conserved between flies and mammals and that RNA-dependent RNA polymerases are not required for RNAi in these organisms.
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