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Neuropharmacology. 2014 May;80:61-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.01.026. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

Neuroepigenetics of memory formation and impairment: the role of microRNAs.

Author information

1
Brain Research Institute, Neuroscience Center Zürich, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zürich and Department of Health Sciences and Technology of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland.
2
Brain Research Institute, Neuroscience Center Zürich, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zürich and Department of Health Sciences and Technology of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland. Electronic address: mansuy@hifo.uzh.ch.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of short non-coding RNAs that primarily regulate protein synthesis through reversible translational repression or mRNA degradation. MiRNAs can act by translational control of transcription factors or via direct action on the chromatin, and thereby contribute to the non-genetic control of gene-environment interactions. MiRNAs that regulate components of pathways required for learning and memory further modulate the influence of epigenetics on cognition in the normal and diseased brain. This review summarizes recent data exemplifying the known roles of miRNAs in memory formation in different model organisms, and describes how neuronal plasticity regulates miRNA biogenesis, activity and degradation. It also examines the relevance of miRNAs for memory impairment in human, using recent clinical observations related to neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, and discusses the potential mechanisms by which these miRNAs may contribute to memory disorders.

KEYWORDS:

Brain; Memory disorders; Memory formation; MicroRNAs

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