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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2006 (2006), Article ID 29049, 8 pages
Review Article

Do Small RNAs Interfere With LINE-1?

Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Fox North 2002, 1450 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010-3011, USA

Received 2 August 2005; Revised 7 October 2005; Accepted 12 October 2005

Copyright © 2006 Harris S. Soifer. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Long interspersed elements (LINE-1 or L1) are the most active transposable elements in the human genome. Due to their high copy number and ability to sponsor retrotransposition of nonautonomous RNA sequences, unchecked L1 activity can negatively impact the genome by a number of means. Substantial evidence in lower eukaryotes demonstrates that the RNA interference (RNAi) machinery plays a major role in containing transposon activity. Despite extensive analysis in other eukaryotes, no experimental evidence has been presented that L1-derived siRNAs exist, or that the RNAi plays a significant role in restricting L1 activity in the human genome. This review will present evidence showing a direct role for RNAi in suppressing the movement of transposable elements in other eukaryotes, as well as speculate on the role RNAi might play in protecting the human genome from LINE-1 activity.