Regulation and function of miRNA-21 in health and disease

RNA Biol. Sep-Oct 2011;8(5):706-13. doi: 10.4161/rna.8.5.16154. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Abstract

The small regulatory RNA microRNA-21 (miR-21) plays a crucial role in a plethora of biological functions and diseases including development, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and inflammation. The gene coding for pri-miR-21 (primary transcript containing miR-21) is located within the intronic region of the TMEM49 gene. Despite pri-miR-21 and TMEM49 are overlapping genes in the same direction of transcription, pri-miR-21 is independently transcribed by its own promoter regions and terminated with its own poly(A) tail. After transcription, primiR- 21 is finally processed into mature miR-21. Expression of miR-21 has been found to be deregulated in almost all types of cancers and therefore was classified as an oncomiR. During recent years, additional roles of miR-21 in cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, including cardiac and pulmonary fibrosis as well as myocardial infarction have been described. MiR-21 additionally regulates various immunological and developmental processes. Due to the critical functions of its target proteins in various signaling pathways, miR-21 has become an attractive target for genetic and pharmacological modulation in various disease conditions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Myocardial Infarction / genetics
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic

Substances

  • MIRN21 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs