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Epigenomics. 2013;5(5):539-52. doi: 10.2217/epi.13.55.

Epigenetic role of miRNAs in normal and leukemic hematopoiesis.

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Department of Medical-Surgical Sciences & Biotechnologies, University La Sapienza, Latina, 04100, Italy.


Hematopoiesis is a regulated multistep process, whereby transcriptional and epigenetic events contribute to progenitor fate determination. miRNAs have emerged as key players in hematopoietic cell development, differentiation and malignant transformation. From embryonic development through to adult life, miRNAs cooperate with, or are regulated, by epigenetic factors. Moreover, recent findings suggest that they contribute to chromatin structural modification, and the functional relevance of this 'epigenetic-miRNA axis' will be discussed in this article. Finally, emerging evidence has highlighted that miRNAs have functional control in human hematopoietic cells, involving targeted recruitment of epigenetic complexes to evolutionarily conserved complementary genomic loci. We propose the existence of epigenetic-miRNA loops that are able to organize the whole gene expression profile in hematopoietic cells.

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