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Year: 2009  |  Volume: 30  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 912 - 917

MicroRNAs and genomic variations: from Proteus tricks to Prometheus gift

M Fabbri, N Valeri and G. A. Calin    


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs with regulatory functions. MiRNAs are aberrantly expressed in almost all human cancers, leading to abnormal levels of target genes. Recently, an increasing number of studies have addressed whether genomic variations including germ line or somatic mutations and single-nucleotide polymorphisms can count for miRNA abnormal expression by altering their biogenesis and/or affect the ability of miRNAs to bind to target messenger RNAs. Here, we provide an extensive review of the studies that have investigated variations occurring both in miRNA genes and in target genes and we discuss the possible clinical implications of these findings. Furthermore, we propose that sequence variations in miRNAs or interactor sites located in mRNAs can be involved in cancer predisposition.

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