Short Tandem Target Mimic: A Long Journey to the Engineered Molecular Landmine for Selective Destruction/Blockage of MicroRNAs in Plants and Animals

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a population of highly conserved specific small ribo-regulators that negatively regulate gene expressions in both plants and animals. They play a key role in post-transcriptional gene regulation by destabilizing the target gene transcripts or blocking protein translation from them. Interestingly, these negative regulators are largely compromised by an upstream layer of negative regulators "target mimics" found in plants or "endogenous competing RNAs" revealed recently in animals. These endogenous regulatory mechanisms of "double negatives making a positive" have now been developed into a key strategy in the study of small RNA functions. This review presents some reflections on the long journey to the short tandem target mimic (STTM) for selective destruction/blockage of specific miRNAs in plants and animals, and the potential applications of STTM are discussed. © 2013 .

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Journal of Genetics and Genomics