Functional anatomy of the Drosophila microRNA-generating enzyme

Xuecheng Ye, Zain Paroo, Qinghua Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


In Drosophila melanogaster, the multidomain RNase III Dicer-1 (Dcr-1) functions in tandem with the double-stranded (ds)RNA-binding protein Loquacious (Loqs) to catalyze the maturation of microRNAs (miRNAs) from precursor (pre)-miRNAs. Here we dissect the molecular mechanism of pre-miRNA processing by the Dcr-1-Loqs complex. The tandem RNase III (RIII) domains of Dcr-1 form an intramolecular dimer such that one RIII domain cleaves the 3′ strand, whereas the other cuts the 5′ strand of pre-miRNA. We show that the functional core of Dcr-1 consists of a DUF283 domain, a PAZ domain, and two RIII domains. Dcr-1 preferentially associates with the Loqs-PB splice isoform. Loqs-PB uses the second dsRNA-binding domain to bind pre-miRNA and the third dsRNA-binding domain to interact with Dcr-1. Both domains of Loqs-PB are required for efficient miRNA production by enhancing the affinity of Dcr-1 for pre-miRNA. Thus, our results provide further insights into the functional anatomy of the Drosophila miRNA-generating enzyme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28373-28378
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 28 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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