Mechanisms of Control of microRNA Biogenesis

J Biochem. 2010 Oct;148(4):381-92. doi: 10.1093/jb/mvq096. Epub 2010 Sep 9.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of ∼22 nt non-coding RNAs that control diverse biological functions in animals, plants and unicellular eukaryotes by promoting degradation or inhibition of translation of target mRNAs. miRNA expression is often tissue specific and developmentally regulated. Aberrant expression of miRNAs has been linked to developmental abnormalities and human diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disorders. The recent identification of mechanisms of miRNA biogenesis regulation uncovers that various factors or growth factor signalling pathways control every step of the miRNA biogenesis pathway. Here, we review the mechanisms that control the regulation of miRNA biogenesis discovered in human cells. Further understanding of the mechanisms that control of miRNA biogenesis may allow the development of tools to modulate the expression of specific miRNAs, which is crucial for the development of novel therapies for human disorders derived from aberrant expression of miRNAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ribonuclease III / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DGCR8 protein, human
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • MicroRNAs
  • Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ribonuclease III
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases