MicroRNA-regulated networks: the perfect storm for classical molecular biology, the ideal scenario for systems biology

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;774:55-76. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-5590-1_4.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in many regulatory pathways some of which are complex networks enriched in regulatory motifs like positive or negative feedback loops or coherent and incoherent feedforward loops. Their complexity makes the understanding of their regulation difficult and the interpretation of experimental data cumbersome. In this book chapter we claim that systems biology is the appropriate approach to investigate the regulation of these miRNA-regulated networks. Systems biology is an interdisciplinary approach by which biomedical questions on biochemical networks are addressed by integrating experiments with mathematical modelling and simulation. We here introduce the foundations of the systems biology approach, the basic theoretical and computational tools used to perform model-based analyses of miRNA-regulated networks and review the scientific literature in systems biology of miRNA regulation, with a focus on cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / genetics*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Biology*
  • Systems Biology*


  • MicroRNAs