MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, small non-coding RNAs known to regulate expression of protein-coding genes. A large proportion of miRNAs are highly conserved, localized as clusters in the genome, transcribed together from physically adjacent miRNAs and show similar expression profiles. Since a single miRNA can target multiple genes and miRNA clusters contain multiple miRNAs, it is important to understand their regulation, effects and various biological functions. Like protein-coding genes, miRNA clusters are also regulated by genetic and epigenetic events. These clusters can potentially regulate every aspect of cellular function including growth, proliferation, differentiation, development, metabolism, infection, immunity, cell death, organellar biogenesis, messenger signalling, DNA repair and self-renewal, among others. Dysregulation of miRNA clusters leading to altered biological functions is key to the pathogenesis of many diseases including carcinogenesis. Here, we review recent advances in miRNA cluster research and discuss their regulation and biological functions in pathological conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)