class of enzyme that catalyzes the degradation of RNA
All organisms studied contain many RNases of many different sorts. This shows that RNA degradation is a very ancient and important process.
- It cleans up cell RNA which is no longer needed.
- It is a first-line defence against RNA viruses.
- It acts in RNA interference (RNAi), or post transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS). This is a biological process in which RNA molecules inhibit gene expression. In 2006, Andrew Fire and Craig Mello shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on RNA interference.
- D'Alessio G. and Riordan J.F. eds. 1997. Ribonucleases: structures and functions. Academic Press.