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J Cell Sci. 2011 Apr 1;124(Pt 7):999-1006. doi: 10.1242/jcs.081513.

Roles for microRNAs in the regulation of cell adhesion molecules.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


Maintenance of appropriate cell adhesion is crucial for normal cellular and organismal homeostasis. Certain microRNAs have recently been found capable of regulating molecules that oversee the fundamental cell biological events that drive cellular adhesion. It is now apparent that microRNAs play crucial roles in the great majority of biochemical pathways that contribute to normal cell adhesion. In this Commentary, we describe the latest advances within this still-emerging field, and highlight connections between the deregulation of microRNAs that affect cell-adhesion-associated molecules and the pathogenesis of several human diseases. Current evidence suggests that the ability of certain microRNAs--notably miR-17, miR-29, miR-31, miR-124 and miR-200--to pleiotropically regulate multiple molecular components of the cell adhesion machinery endows these microRNAs with the capacity to function as key modulators of adhesion-associated processes. This, in turn, holds important implications for our understanding of both the basic biology of cell adhesion and the etiology of multiple pathological conditions.

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