Dicer partner proteins Drosophila Loquacious-PB (Loqs-PB) and human TRBP tune the length of miRNAs produced by Dicer from a subset of pre-miRNAs and thereby alter their target repertoire, by an unknown mechanism. Here, we developed a novel high-throughput method that we named Dram-seq (Dice randomized pre-miRNA pool and seq) to study length distributions of miRNAs produced from thousands of different pre-miRNA variants. Using Dram-seq, we found that a base-mismatch in the pre-miRNA stem can alter the length of miRNAs compared with a base-pair at the same position in both Drosophila and human, and is important for the miRNA length tuning by Loqs-PB. Loqs-PB directly bound base-mismatched nucleotides in the pre-miRNA stem. We speculate that Loqs-PB tunes miRNA length by changing the conformation of base-mismatched nucleotides in the pre-miRNA stem to that of base-paired ones and thereby altering the distance of the pre-miRNA stem.
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