The molecular mechanism(s) responsible for posttranscriptional gene silencing and RNA interference remain poorly understood. We have cloned a gene (Mut6) from the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii that is required for the silencing of a transgene and two transposon families. Mut6 encodes a protein that is highly homologous to RNA helicases of the DEAH-box family. This protein is necessary for the degradation of certain aberrant RNAs, such as improperly processed transcripts, which are often produced by transposons and some transgenes.
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