MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an abundant class of non-coding RNAs that are believed to be important in many biological processes through regulation of gene expression. The precise molecular function of miRNAs in mammals is largely unknown and a better understanding will require loss-of-function studies in vivo.Researchers have invented a new class of RNA oligonucleotides that can silence the short noncoding RNA molecules known as microRNAs in much the same way that short interfering RNAs silence messenger RNA in the phenomenon known as RNA interference. A novel class of chemically engineered antisense oligonucleotides(ASO), termed ‘antagomirs’, are efficient and specific silencers of endogenous miRNAs miRNA can be blocked effectively using ASOs containing several distinct nucleic acid modifications. In general, an effective ASO is resistant to non-specific cellular ribonucleases, resistant to miRNA-directed cleavage by RISC, and binds miRNAs in RISC with high affinity, effectively out-competing binding to target mRNAs. The mechanism by which ASOs block miRNA function remains controversial. Initial studies suggested that ASOs block miRNA function by binding mature miRNAs in RISC. To study miRNA function in human somatic cells, where genetic knockouts are difficult at best, antagomir transfection is an essential tool.
The authors acknowledge the funds provided by the DBT - BIF - BTBI program for the completion of this work at the BIF Facility at Presidency College, Kolkata.
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