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J Cell Mol Med. 2008 Sep-Oct;12(5A):1466-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2008.00400.x. Epub 2008 Jul 8.

microRNAs: tiny regulators of synapse function in development and disease.

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  • 1Interdisziplinäes Zentrum fü Neurowissenschaften, SFB488 Junior Group, Universitä Heidelberg, and Institut fü Neuroanatomie, Universitäsklinikum Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


The development and function of neuronal circuits within the brain are orchestrated by sophisticated gene regulatory mechanisms. Recently, microRNAs have emerged as a novel class of small RNAs that fine-tune protein synthesis. microRNAs are abundantly expressed in the vertebrate nervous system, where they contribute to the specification of neuronal cell identity. Moreover, microRNAs also play an important role in mature neurons. This review summarizes the current knowledge about the function of microRNAs in the nervous system with special emphasis on synapse formation and plasticity. The second part of this work will discuss the potential involvement of microRNAs in neurologic diseases. The study of brain microRNAs promises to expand our understanding of the mechanisms underlying higher cognitive functions and neurologic diseases.

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