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Goh, E., Okamura, K. (2019). Hidden sequence specificity in loading of single-stranded RNAs onto Drosophila Argonautes.  Nucleic Acids Res. 47(6): 3101--3116.
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Research paper

Argonaute proteins play important roles in gene regulation with small RNAs (sRNAs) serving as guides to targets. Argonautes are believed to bind sRNAs in a sequence non-specific manner. However, we recently discovered that Argonautes selectively load endogenous single-stranded (ss) RNAs, suggesting that Argonaute loading may conform to sequence specificity. To identify sequences preferred for Argonaute loading, we have developed HIgh-throughput Sequencing mediated Specificity Analysis (HISSA). HISSA allows massively parallel analysis of RNA binding efficiency by using randomized oligos in in vitro binding assays and quantifying RNAs by deep-sequencing. We chose Drosophila as a model system to take advantage of the presence of two biochemically distinct Argonautes, AGO1 and AGO2. Our results revealed AGO2 loading to be strongly favored by G-rich sequences. In contrast, AGO1 showed an enrichment of the 'GAC' motif in loaded species. Reanalysis of published sRNA sequencing data from fly tissues detected enrichment of the GAC motif in ssRNA-derived small RNAs in the immunopurified AGO1-complex under certain conditions, suggesting that the sequence preference of AGO1-loading may influence the repertoire of AGO1-bound endogenous sRNAs. Finally, we showed that human Ago2 also exhibited selectivity in loading ssRNAs in cell lysates. These findings may have implications for therapeutic ssRNA-mediated gene silencing.

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PMC6451100 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Nucleic Acids Res.
    Nucleic Acids Research
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