Post-transcriptional control of gene expression is an important mechanism for maintaining cellular homoeostasis and regulating the immune response to infection. It allows control of mRNA abundance, translation and localization. Mechanisms for post-transcriptional control involve RNA-binding proteins and miRNAs (microRNAs). The TTP(tristetraprolin) family of proteins recognize and bind AU-rich elements. Deletion of TTP led to a systemic autoimmune syndrome with excess circulating TNFα (tumour necrosis factor α) and GM-CSF (granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor) due to aberrantly stabilized mRNA. The family may also have a role in control of lymphocyte development and function. miRNAs regulate gene expression by promoting decay or inhibiting translation of transcripts with base pair complementarity. The importance of miRNAs in lymphocytes is highlighted by the T-cell-specific deletion of Dicer, an enzyme required for miRNA-mediated processing and from the phenotype of bic (B-cell integration cluster)/miR-155 (miRNA 155)-deficient mice.

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