Noncanonical functions of microRNA pathway enzymes - Drosha, DGCR8, Dicer and Ago proteins.
Pong SK., Gullerova M.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small regulatory noncoding RNAs that are generated in the canonical RNA interference (RNAi) pathway. Drosha, DiGeorge syndrome critical region 8 (DGCR8) and Dicer are key players in miRNA biogenesis. Argonaute (Ago) proteins bind to miRNAs and are guided by them to find messenger RNA targets and carry out post-transcriptional silencing of protein-coding genes. Recently, emerging evidence suggests that RNAi factors have a range of noncanonical functions that are beyond miRNA biogenesis. These functions pertain to various biological processes, such as development, transcriptional regulation, RNA processing and maintenance of genome integrity. Here, we review recent literature reporting miRNA-independent, noncanonical functions of Drosha, DGCR8, Dicer and Ago proteins and discuss the importance of these functions.