The discovery of microRNAs (miRNAs) in 1993 followed by developments and

The discovery of microRNAs (miRNAs) in 1993 followed by developments and discoveries in small RNA biology have redefined the biological scenery by significantly altering the longstanding dogmas that defined gene regulation. their Imatinib Mesylate potential to be reliable biomarkers. Also altering miRNA functionality and the development of novel in vivo delivery systems to achieve targeted modulation of specific miRNA function are being actively pursued as novel approaches for therapeutic intervention in many diseases. Here we review the current body of knowledge on the role of miRNAs in development and disease and discuss future implications. development. This novel mode of regulating gene expression was first thought to be a phenomenon unique to (ESC cell cycle-promoting miRNAs).114 178 ESCC miRNAs directly target the cell cycle inhibitors p21 Imatinib Mesylate and LATS2 thus facilitating G1-S phase transition.178 Moreover transcription factors such as Oct3/4 Nanog and Sox2 which are critical for maintaining pluripotency have been shown to bind to the promoter of the miR-290 cluster and sustain its expression thereby promoting self-renewal and maintenance of the pluripotent state.103 112 ESC miRNA knockout (through deletion of Dicer or Dgcr8) in mouse models resulted in an altered cell cycle profile with an extended G1 phase.75 179 As ESCs transition from a self-renewing to a differentiated state several ESCC miRNAs show a gradual decrease in expression levels. In contrast miRNA let-7 functions as a suppressor of pluripotency and is known to antagonize the effects of the miR-290 cluster. Unlike the miR-290 cluster upregulation of let-7 was detected in the differentiated state Mmp17 suggesting that its antagonistic effect may help stabilize the differentiated state.114 115 Similarly miRNAs are also important in regulating the proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells. miR-125b performs a specialized role not only in regulating hematopoiesis at the stem cell level but also in modulating inflammation and innate immunity by specifically promoting the differentiation and activation of macrophages.25 155 This proinflammatory effect of miR-125b was shown to be mediated predominantly via regulation of the nuclear factor (NF)-κB pathway. Interestingly the dysregulation of miR-125b has been reported in multiple human cancers including leukemia and causes acute myeloid and lymphoid leukemias in mouse models.42 126 miRNAs have been described to play Imatinib Mesylate a major role in orchestrating the coordinated development of various organ systems. Although ubiquitously expressed temporal and spatial expression of distinct units of tissue-specific miRNAs is usually important in modeling tissue development and differentiation. miR-273 is required for establishing left-right asymmetry during neuronal development.64 In mouse heart the fact that even deletion of 1 1 of the 2 2 genes coding for miR-1 (miR-1-2) caused severe and irreparable defects in cardiac morphology suggests critical functions for this miRNA in regulating cardiogenesis.198 The highly conserved miR-1 is the most abundant miRNA in adult heart and its known functions include controlling cardiac morphogenesis electrical conduction and the cell cycle. miR-1 has been proposed to regulate cardiogenesis by fine-tuning the expression of Hand2 a transcription factor essential for cardiac development.199 Other validated targets of miR-1 include insulin-like growth factor 1 calmodulin and myocyte enhancer factor 2A all of which have been well documented to cumulatively contribute to the development of cardiac hypertrophy.1 39 68 In mice deletion of miR-208 markedly impaired the ability of Imatinib Mesylate the heart to respond to stress stimuli.173 Double gene knockout of yet another muscle-enriched miRNA miR-133a in mice resulted in increased proliferation and apoptosis of myocytes ventricular septal defects and embryonic lethality. Those that survived developed severe cardiac dilatation and failure.106 In skeletal muscle upregulation of miR-27 and subsequent downregulation of its target protein Pax3 were found to be important in Imatinib Mesylate reducing myocyte proliferation and facilitating myogenic differentiation.32 Besides cardiac and skeletal muscle miRNAs also exert specific functions in skin development. miR-203 is usually induced during differentiation and stratification of mouse skin which in turn controls the basal to.