Conservation of miRNA-mediated silencing mechanisms across 600 million years of animal evolution

Marta Mauri, Marieluise Kirchner, Reuven Aharoni, Camilla Ciolli Mattioli, David Van Den Bruck, Nadya Gutkovitch, Vengamanaidu Modepalli, Matthias Selbach, Yehu Moran, Marina Chekulaeva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Our current knowledge about the mechanisms of miRNA silencing is restricted to few lineages such as vertebrates, arthropods, nematodes and land plants. miRNA-mediated silencing in bilaterian animals is dependent on the proteins of the GW182 family. Here, we dissect the function of GW182 protein in the cnidarian Nematostella, separated by 600 million years from other Metazoa. Using cultured human cells, we show that Nematostella GW182 recruits the CCR4-NOT deadenylation complexes via its tryptophan-containing motifs, thereby inhibiting translation and promoting mRNA decay. Further, similarly to bilaterians, GW182 in Nematostella is recruited to the miRNA repression complex via interaction with Argonaute proteins, and functions downstream to repress mRNA. Thus, our work suggests that this mechanism of miRNA-mediated silencing was already active in the last common ancestor of Cnidaria and Bilateria.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)938-950
Number of pages13
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


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