Caister Academic Press

Overview of Biogenesis and Applications of MicroRNA

Patrick Arbuthnot and Marc S. Weinberg
from: Applied RNAi: From Fundamental Research to Therapeutic Applications (Edited by: Patrick Arbuthnot and Marc S. Weinberg). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2014)

Abstract

Intensive research on the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway has provided detailed understanding of the intricacies of gene silencing by small RNAs. Insights into the regulation of micro RNA (miRNA) biogenesis have revealed a complex interplay of controlling mechanisms. Efficacies of miRNAs are potentially influenced by modulation at all steps of their biogenesis: transcription of primary miRNAs, nuclear processing and export, cytoplasmic Dicer cleavage of precursor miRNAs (pre-miRNAs) and loading of mature miRNAs onto the RNA Induced Silencing Complex (RISC). In addition competing endogenous sequences, especially circular RNA sponges, may function to sequester miRNAs and attenuate their effects on mRNA targets. Disruption of miRNA function is implicated in disease processes such as cancer and modulating natural miRNA function has potential for treating diseases. Remarkably, miRNAs may be secreted from cells and detection of particular miRNA profiles in serum has diagnostic utility. Synthetic and expressed RNAi activators are being applied to therapeutic inhibition of pathology-causing genes. Also incorporating miRNA targets into untranslated sequences has provided a useful mechanism of regulating therapeutic transgene expression. RNAi research has matured and remains an exciting field of investigation. Improved understanding has now provided the means for powerful application read more ...
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