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Sci Signal. 2015 Mar 17;8(368):re2. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.2005813.

Outside the coding genome, mammalian microRNAs confer structural and functional complexity.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94705, USA.
2
Blood Research Institute, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.
3
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94705, USA. lhe@berkeley.edu.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) comprise a class of small, regulatory noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) with pivotal roles in posttranscriptional gene regulation. Since their initial discovery in 1993, numerous miRNAs have been identified in mammalian genomes, many of which play important roles in diverse cellular processes in development and disease. These small ncRNAs regulate the expression of many protein-coding genes posttranscriptionally, thus adding a substantial complexity to the molecular networks underlying physiological development and disease. In part, this complexity arises from the distinct gene structures, the extensive genomic redundancy, and the complex regulation of the expression and biogenesis of miRNAs. These characteristics contribute to the functional robustness and versatility of miRNAs and provide important clues to the functional significance of these small ncRNAs. The unique structure and function of miRNAs will continue to inspire many to explore the vast noncoding genome and to elucidate the molecular basis for the functional complexity of mammalian genomes.

PMID:
25783159
PMCID:
PMC4425368
DOI:
10.1126/scisignal.2005813
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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