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Open Access Commentary

How do miRNAs mediate translational repression?

Shuo Gu and Mark A Kay*

Author Affiliations

Departments of Pediatrics and Genetics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

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Silence 2010, 1:11  doi:10.1186/1758-907X-1-11

Published: 7 May 2010

Abstract

Micro(mi)RNAs regulate gene expression by what are believed to be related but separate mechanistic processes. The relative contribution that each process plays, their mechanistic overlap, and the degree by which they regulate complex genetic networks is still being unraveled. One process by which miRNAs inhibit gene expression occurs through translational repression. In recent years, there has been a plethora of studies published, which have resulted in various molecular models of how miRNAs impair translation. At first evaluation, it appears that these models are quite different and incompatible with one another. In this paper, we focus on possible explanations for the various interpretations of these data sets, and provide a model that we believe is consistent with many of the observations published to date.