MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of 21–23 nucleotides(nt), non- coding RNAs that regulate gene expression network post-transcriptionally. Studies in different organisms have shown the role of miRNAs as critical components of gene regulatory networks in eukaryotes and they are estimated to regulate at least 50% of the human gene expression. Recent studies have verified the significant role of miRNAs in a broad range of biological activities, such as cell proliferation, differentiation, senescence, metabolism, apoptosis, and life span[2, 3]. miRNA research has attracted a lot of attention among biomedical researchers focusing on human diseases. These studies have uncovered the critical regulatory functions of miRNAs in varieties of human disorders ranging from cancers, autoimmune and infectious diseases to cardiac and neurological disorders. miRNAs are expected to be clinically valuable as therapeutic agents[9, 10], biomarkers for diagnosis, assessment of disease progression and response to drugs[11-15]. Consequently, miRNA research is crucial to fully comprehend the molecular underpinnings of human diseases as well as the basic aspects of eukaryotic physiology.
1. Bartel DP. MicroRNAs: target recognition and regulatory functions, Cell 2009;136:215-233.
2. Huntzinger E, Izaurralde E. Gene silencing by microRNAs: contributions of translational repression and mRNA decay, Nat Rev Genet 2011;12:99-110.
3. Dai R, Ahmed SA. MicroRNA, a new paradigm for understanding immunoregulation, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases, Transl Res 2011;157:163-179.
4. Jansson MD, Lund AH. MicroRNA and cancer, Mol Oncol 2012;6:590-610.
5. Quintero-Ronderos P, Montoya-Ortiz G. Epigenetics and autoimmune diseases, Autoimmune Dis 2012;2012:593720.
6. Kumar A. MicroRNA in HCV infection and liver cancer, Biochim Biophys Acta 2011;1809:694-699.
7. Yu S, Li G. MicroRNA expression and function in cardiac ischemic injury, J Cardiovasc Transl Res 2010;3:241-245.
8. Salta E, De Strooper B. Non-coding RNAs with essential roles in neurodegenerative disorders, Lancet Neurol 2012;11:189-200.
9. Fiedler J, Gupta SK, Thum T. MicroRNA-based therapeutic approaches in the cardiovascular system, Cardiovasc Ther 2012;30:e9-e15.
10. Jackson A, Linsley PS. The therapeutic potential of microRNA modulation, Discov Med 2010;9:311-318.
11. Rukov JL, Shomron N. MicroRNA pharmacogenomics: post-transcriptional regulation of drug response, Trends Mol Med 2011;17:412-423.
12. Du L, Pertsemlidis A. microRNA regulation of cell viability and drug sensitivity in lung cancer, Expert Opin Biol Ther 2012;12:1221-1239.
13. Kosaka N, Iguchi H, Ochiya T. Circulating microRNA in body fluid: a new potential biomarker for cancer diagnosis and prognosis, Cancer Sci 2010;101:2087-2092.
14. Luo X, Burwinkel B, Tao S et al. MicroRNA signatures: novel biomarker for colorectal cancer?, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2011;20:1272-1286.
15. Zen K, Zhang CY. Circulating microRNAs: a novel class of biomarkers to diagnose and monitor human cancers, Med Res Rev 2012;32:326-348.