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Molecular medicine of microRNAs: structure, function and implications for diabetes

Hennessy, Erica and O'Driscoll, Lorraine (2008) Molecular medicine of microRNAs: structure, function and implications for diabetes. Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine, 10 (24). ISSN 1462-3994

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a family of endogenous small noncoding RNA molecules, of 19–28 nucleotides in length. In humans, up to 3% of all genes are estimated to encode these evolutionarily conserved sequences. miRNAs are thought to control expression of thousands of target mRNAs. Mammalian miRNAs generally negatively regulate gene expression by repressing translation, possibly through effects on mRNA stability and compartmentalisation, and/or the translation process itself. An extensive range of in silico and experimental techniques have been applied to our understanding of the occurrence and functional relevance of such sequences, and antisense technologies have been successfully used to control miRNA expression in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, miRNAs have been identified in both normal and pathological conditions, including differentiation and development, metabolism, proliferation, cell death, viral infection and cancer. Of specific relevance and excitement to the area of diabetes research, miRNA regulation has been implicated in insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells, diabetic heart conditions and nephropathy. Further analyses of miRNAs in vitro and in vivo will, undoubtedly, enable us determine their potential to be exploited as therapeutic targets in diabetes.

Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:microRNA (miRNA); normal and pathology; insulin secretion; insulin resistance; diabetic nephropathy; diabetes heart problems; beta cell development;
Subjects:Biological Sciences > Biotechnology
Medical Sciences > Diseases
DCU Faculties and Centres:Research Initiatives and Centres > National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB)
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Official URL:
Copyright Information:Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:4088
Deposited On:07 Apr 2009 16:41 by DORAS Administrator. Last Modified 14 Aug 2009 04:02

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