Regulation of miRNA Processing and miRNA Mediated Gene Repression in Cancer
Sarah Bajan and Gyorgy Hutvagner
Affiliation: Correspondence: Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, Centre of Health Technology, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Keywords: Cancer, gene regulation, isomiR, miRNA, miRNA editing, SNP.
The majority of human protein-coding genes are predicted to be targets of miRNA-mediated posttranscriptional
regulation. The widespread influence of miRNAs is illustrated by their essential roles in all biological
processes. Regulated miRNA expression is essential for maintaining cellular differentiation; therefore alterations in
miRNA expression patterns are associated with several diseases, including various cancers. High-throughput sequencing
technologies revealed low level expressing miRNA isoforms, termed isomiRs. IsomiRs may differ in sequence, length,
target preference and expression patterns from their parental miRNA and can arise from differences in miRNA biosynthesis,
RNA editing, or SNPs inherent to the miRNA gene. The association between isomiR expression and disease progression
is largely unknown. Misregulated miRNA expression is thought to contribute to the formation and/or progression of
cancer. However, due to the diversity of targeted transcripts, miRNAs can function as both tumor-suppressor genes and
oncogenes as defined by cellular context. Despite this, miRNA profiling studies concluded that the differential expression
of particular miRNAs in diseased tissue could aid the diagnosis and treatment of some cancers.
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