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Nat Rev Immunol. 2016 Apr 28;16(5):279-94. doi: 10.1038/nri.2016.40.

MicroRNAs as regulatory elements in immune system logic.

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Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 90025, USA.
David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are crucial post-transcriptional regulators of haematopoietic cell fate decisions. They act by negatively regulating the expression of key immune development genes, thus contributing important logic elements to the regulatory circuitry. Deletion studies have made it increasingly apparent that they confer robustness to immune cell development, especially under conditions of environmental stress such as infectious challenge and ageing. Aberrant expression of certain miRNAs can lead to pathological consequences, such as autoimmunity and haematological cancers. In this Review, we discuss the mechanisms by which several miRNAs influence immune development and buffer normal haematopoietic output, first at the level of haematopoietic stem cells, then in innate and adaptive immune cells. We then discuss the pathological consequences of dysregulation of these miRNAs.

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