Deciphering miRNAs' Action through miRNA Editing.
Correia de Sousa Marta,Gjorgjieva Monika,Dolicka Dobrochna,Sobolewski Cyril,Foti Michelangelo
International journal of molecular sciences
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs with the capability of modulating gene expression at the post-transcriptional level either by inhibiting messenger RNA (mRNA) translation or by promoting mRNA degradation. The outcome of a myriad of physiological processes and pathologies, including cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, relies highly on miRNAs. However, deciphering the precise roles of specific miRNAs in these pathophysiological contexts is challenging due to the high levels of complexity of their actions. Indeed, regulation of mRNA expression by miRNAs is frequently cell/organ specific; highly dependent on the stress and metabolic status of the organism; and often poorly correlated with miRNA expression levels. Such biological features of miRNAs suggest that various regulatory mechanisms control not only their expression, but also their activity and/or bioavailability. Several mechanisms have been described to modulate miRNA action, including genetic polymorphisms, methylation of miRNA promoters, asymmetric miRNA strand selection, interactions with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) or other coding/non-coding RNAs. Moreover, nucleotide modifications (A-to-I or C-to-U) within the miRNA sequences at different stages of their maturation are also critical for their functionality. This regulatory mechanism called "RNA editing" involves specific enzymes of the adenosine/cytidine deaminase family, which trigger single nucleotide changes in primary miRNAs. These nucleotide modifications greatly influence a miRNA's stability, maturation and activity by changing its specificity towards target mRNAs. Understanding how editing events impact miRNA's ability to regulate stress responses in cells and organs, or the development of specific pathologies, e.g., metabolic diseases or cancer, should not only deepen our knowledge of molecular mechanisms underlying complex diseases, but can also facilitate the design of new therapeutic approaches based on miRNA targeting. Herein, we will discuss the current knowledge on miRNA editing and how this mechanism regulates miRNA biogenesis and activity.
miRNA Biogenesis: A Dynamic Pathway.
Achkar Natalia P,Cambiagno Damián A,Manavella Pablo A
Trends in plant science
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) modulate plant homeostasis through the inactivation of specific mRNAs, especially those encoding transcription factors. A delicate spatial/temporal balance between a miRNA and its targets is central to achieving the appropriate biological outcomes. In this review we discuss our growing understanding of the dynamic regulation of miRNA biogenesis. We put special emphasis on crosstalk between miRNA biogenesis and other cellular processes such as transcription and splicing. We also discuss how the pathway is regulated in specific tissues to achieve harmonious plant development through a subtle balance between gene expression and silencing.