Planting the seed: target recognition of short guide RNAs

T. Künne, D.C. Swarts, S.J.J. Brouns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Small guide RNAs play important roles in cellular processes such as regulation of gene expression and host defense against invading nucleic acids. The mode of action of small RNAs relies on protein-assisted base pairing of the guide RNA with target mRNA or DNA to interfere with their transcription, translation, or replication. Several unrelated classes of small noncoding RNAs have been identified including eukaryotic RNA silencing-associated small RNAs, prokaryotic small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs), and prokaryotic CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) RNAs (crRNAs). All three groups identify their target sequence by base pairing after finding it in a pool of millions of other nucleotide sequences in the cell. In this complicated target search process, a region of 612 nucleotides (nt) of the small RNA termed the seed plays a critical role. We review the concept of seed sequences and discuss its importance for initial target recognition and interference
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-83
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • bacterial immune-system
  • staphylococcus-aureus reveals
  • binding small rnas
  • sm-like protein
  • messenger-rna
  • crispr rna
  • escherichia-coli
  • streptococcus-thermophilus
  • noncoding rnas
  • enzyme complex


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