Intersection of MicroRNA and Gene Regulatory Networks and their Implication in Cancer
Malik Yousef, Hung V. Trinh and Jens Allmer
Affiliation: Molecular Biology and Genetics, Izmir Institute of Technology, Urla, Izmir, Turkey.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have attracted heightened attention for their role as post-transcriptional regulators of
gene expression. It has become clear that miRNAs can both up- and downregulate protein expression. According to current
estimates, most human genes are harboring miRNAs and/or are regulated by them. Thus miRNAs form a complex
network of expression regulation which tightly interacts with known gene regulatory networks. Similar to some transcription
factors, some miRNAs can have hundreds of target transcripts whose expression they modulate. Thus miRNAs can
form complex regulatory networks by themselves, but because their expression is often tightly coordinated with gene expression,
they form an intertwined regulatory network with many possible interactions among gene and miRNA regulatory
pathways. In this review we first consider gene regulatory networks. Then we discuss microRNAs and their implication
in cancer and how they may form regulatory networks. Finally, we give our perspective and provide an outlook including
the aspect of personalized medicine.
Keywords: Invasion, metastasis, microRNA, network, pathway, Petri nets, reconstruction, regulation, tumor suppression.
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