1. Department of Biosciences, Jamia Millia Islamia (A Central University), New Delhi - 110 025, India.
2. Plant Molecular Biology Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi - 110 067, India.
Micro- and short-interfering RNAs represent small RNA family that are recognized as critical regulatory species across the eukaryotes. Recent high-throughput sequencing have revealed two more hidden players of the cellular small RNA pool. Reported in mammals and Caenorhabditis elegans respectively, these new small RNAs are named piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) and 21U-RNAs. Moreover, small RNAs including miRNAs have been identified in unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, redefining the earlier concept of multi-cellularity restricted presence of these molecules. The discovery of these species of small RNAs has allowed us to understand better the usage of genome and the number of genes present but also have complicated the situation in terms of biochemical attributes and functional genesis of these molecules. Nonetheless, these new pools of knowledge have opened up avenues for unraveling the finer details of the small RNA mediated pathways.
Keywords: siRNA, miRNA, piRNA, 21-U RNA, dicer, argonaute, mirtron.