The tumor suppressor gene p53 was shown to directly regulate the expression of microRNA-34a (miR-34a). miR-34a regulates a plethora of target proteins, which are involved in cell cycle, apoptosis, differentiation, and cellular development.miR-34a resides in the region of chromosome 1p36.23, which is commonly deleted in many tumor types, while it results in the loss expression of miR-34a. The promoters of the miR-34a gene subject to inactivation by CpG methylation also induce the loss expression of miR-34a. Ectopic miR-34a expression induces apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, and differentiation or reduces migration. This review summarizes the progress regarding the role of miR-34a in cell cycle, differentiation, and apoptosis.
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