Current Research
Mechanisms of Small-RNA-directed Search Pathways

Craig Mello investigates how cells use complexes of short RNA segments and proteins to find and regulate or destroy foreign mRNA sequences. Using the worm C. elegans as a model organism, Mello and his team focus on the roles of PIWI Argonaute (AGO) and other AGO pathways, whose ability to silence foreign mRNA is transmitted to progeny in both egg and sperm, through direct transmission of AGO/small-RNA complexes – a form of epigenetic inheritance. Deciphering the basic mechanisms underlying small-RNA-directed search pathways in the worm may help our understanding of similar systems in humans.

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