Mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation by microRNAs: are the answers in sight?

Nat Rev Genet. 2008 Feb;9(2):102-14. doi: 10.1038/nrg2290.


MicroRNAs constitute a large family of small, approximately 21-nucleotide-long, non-coding RNAs that have emerged as key post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression in metazoans and plants. In mammals, microRNAs are predicted to control the activity of approximately 30% of all protein-coding genes, and have been shown to participate in the regulation of almost every cellular process investigated so far. By base pairing to mRNAs, microRNAs mediate translational repression or mRNA degradation. This Review summarizes the current understanding of the mechanistic aspects of microRNA-induced repression of translation and discusses some of the controversies regarding different modes of microRNA function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Pairing / physiology
  • Cell Compartmentation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inclusion Bodies / metabolism
  • Inclusion Bodies / physiology
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Biosynthesis / physiology
  • RNA Interference / physiology*
  • RNA Stability / physiology
  • Ribonucleoproteins / biosynthesis


  • MicroRNAs
  • Ribonucleoproteins