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Jan 16, 2015
Nature Reviews. Genetics
Post-transcriptional gene regulation (PTGR) of mRNA turnover, localization and translation is mediated by microRNAs (miRNAs) and RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). These regulators exert their effects by binding to specific sequences within their target mRNAs. Increasing evidence suggests that competition for binding is a fundamental principle of PTGR. Not only can miRNAs be sequestered and neutralized by the targets with which they interact through a process termed 'sponging', but competition between binding sites on different RNAs may also lead to regulatory crosstalk between transcripts. Here, we quantitatively model competition effects under physiological conditions and review the role of endogenous sponges for PTGR in light of the key features that emerge.

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