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Gene expression can be regulated by transcriptional or post-transcriptional gene silencing. Recently, we described nuclear nascent RNA silencing that is mediated by Dicer-dependent tRNA-derived small RNA molecules. In addition to tRNA, RNA polymerase III also transcribes vault RNA, a component of the ribonucleoprotein complex vault. Here, we show that Dicer-dependent small vault RNA1-2 (svtRNA1-2) associates with Argonaute 2 (Ago2). Although endogenous vtRNA1-2 is present mostly in the cytoplasm, svtRNA1-2 localises predominantly in the nucleus. Furthermore, in Ago2 and Dicer knockdown cells, a subset of genes that are up-regulated at the nascent level were predicted to be targeted by svtRNA1-2 in the intronic region. Genomic deletion of vtRNA1-2 results in impaired cellular proliferation and the up-regulation of genes associated with cell membrane physiology and cell adhesion. Silencing activity of svtRNA1-2 molecules is dependent on seed-plus-complementary-paired hybridisation features and the presence of a 5-nucleotide loop protrusion on target RNAs. Our data reveal a role of Dicer-dependent svtRNA1-2, possessing unique molecular features, in modulation of the expression of membrane-associated proteins at the nascent RNA level.

Original publication




Journal article


Life science alliance

Publication Date




Addresses Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Membrane Proteins, RNA, RNA, Transfer, RNA Interference