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Physiol Genomics. 2012 Feb 27;44(4):237-44. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00141.2011. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

The miR-29 family: genomics, cell biology, and relevance to renal and cardiovascular injury.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


The human miR-29 family of microRNAs has three mature members, miR-29a, miR-29b, and miR-29c. miR-29s are encoded by two gene clusters. Binding sites for several transcriptional factors have been identified in the promoter regions of miR-29 genes. The miR-29 family members share a common seed region sequence and are predicted to target largely overlapping sets of genes. However, the miR-29 family members exhibit differential regulation in several cases and different subcellular distribution, suggesting their functional relevance may not be identical. miR-29s directly target at least 16 extracellular matrix genes, providing a dramatic example of a single microRNA targeting a large group of functionally related genes. Strong antifibrotic effects of miR-29s have been demonstrated in heart, kidney, and other organs. miR-29s have also been shown to be proapoptotic and involved in the regulation of cell differentiation. It remains to be explored how various cellular effects of miR-29s determine functional relevance of miR-29s to specific diseases and how the miR-29 family members may function cooperatively or separately.

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