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Leukemia. 2008 Feb;22(2):330-8. Epub 2007 Nov 8.

Small RNAs analysis in CLL reveals a deregulation of miRNA expression and novel miRNA candidates of putative relevance in CLL pathogenesis.

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Molecular Oncology Unit, Institut Pasteur, Montevideo, Uruguay.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a novel class of small noncoding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression by inducing degradation or translational inhibition of target mRNAs. There are more than 500 miRNA genes reported in the human genome, constituting one of the largest classes of regulatory genes. Increasing experimental evidence supports the idea of aberrant miRNA expression in cancer pathogenesis. We analyzed the pattern of miRNA expression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells and our results showed a global reduction in miRNA expression levels in CLL cells associated to a consistent underexpression of miR-181a, let-7a and miR-30d. We observed overexpression of miR-155 and a set of five miRNAs that are differentially expressed between patients with different clinical outcomes. Five novel miRNA candidates cloned from leukemic cells are reported. Surprisingly, predicted mRNA targets for these novel miRNA revealed a high proportion of targets located in a small region of chromosome 1, which is frequently altered in human cancer. Additionally, several targets were shared by at least two of miRNA candidates. Predicted targets included several genes recently described as tumor suppressors. These data could afford new avenues for exploring innovative pathways in CLL biology and therapy.

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