MicroRNA (miRNA) interferes with the translation of cognate messenger RNA (mRNA) by finding, preferentially binding, and marking it for degradation. To facilitate the search process, Argonaute (Ago) proteins come together with miRNA, forming a dynamic search complex. In this review we use the language of free-energy landscapes to discuss recent single-molecule and high-resolution structural data in the light of theoretical work appropriated from the study of transcription-factor search. We suggest that experimentally observed internal states of the Ago-miRNA search complex may have the explicit biological function of speeding up search while maintaining specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Argonaute, Free-energy landscape, FRET, Lateral diffusion, MicroRNA target prediction, MiRNA, RNA silencing, Search stability paradox, Single molecule, Target Search, Theoretical model

ID: 7336055