Profiling of regulatory microRNA transcriptomes in various biological processes: a review
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A class of small, non-coding ribonucleic acids, termed microRNA (miRNA), has recently emerged as a new key player in the cellular control of gene expression. By either blocking translation or inducing target mRNA degradation, miRNA not only participates in regular biological processes within cells and tissues but is also involved in pathological processes. Many human malignancies have been linked to specific miRNA expression patterns, raising hopes for new approaches to therapy. While such human disease-related mechanisms have been widely discussed and frequently reviewed, miRNA's general significance in animals has been less in editorial focus, despite its obvious role in basic physiological processes, e.g. neurosensory maturation, development of fertility, and hibernation. Using selected examples, this review highlights our current knowledge of miRNA's potential and its promise as a new tool for gene regulation.
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N. Blin, Division of Molecular Genetics, Institute of Human Genetics, University of T?bingen, Wilhelmstr. 27, 72074 Tubingen, Germany