Tag team: Roles of miRNAs and Proteolytic Regulators in Ensuring Robust Gene Expression Dynamics

Trends Genet. 2018 Jan;34(1):21-29. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2017.09.009. Epub 2017 Oct 13.


Lack of prominent developmental defects arising from loss of many individual miRNAs is consistent with the observations of collaborative networks between miRNAs and roles for miRNAs in regulating stress responses. However, these characteristics may only partially explain the seemingly nonessential nature of many miRNAs. Non-miRNA gene expression regulatory mechanisms also collaborate with miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC) to support robust gene expression dynamics. Genetic enhancer screens have revealed roles of miRNAs and other gene repressive mechanisms in development or other cellular processes that were masked by genetic redundancy. Besides discussing the breadth of the non-miRNA genes, we use LIN-28 as an example to illustrate how distinct regulatory systems, including miRNAs and multiple protein stability mechanisms, work at different levels to target expression of a given gene and provide tissue-specific and stage-specific regulation of gene expression.

Keywords: Arg/N-end rule; caspase; developmental timing; heterochrony; protease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caspases / genetics
  • Gene Expression*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Proteolysis
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • LIN-28 protein, C elegans
  • MicroRNAs
  • Repressor Proteins
  • let-7 microRNA, C elegans
  • Caspases
  • ced-3 protein, C elegans