Noted experts explore microRNAs in a special April issue of Translational Research

MicroRNAs: A potential new frontier for medicine

In this special issue of Translational Research, several articles review the complex role for miRNAs in the pathobiology of multiple organ systems that include the lung, heart, kidney, liver, skeletal muscle, and immune system. The reviews, as an ensemble, touch on several themes in our current understanding of microRNAs, and these themes are the subject of this commentary. An essential role for the control of posttranscriptional gene expression is underscored by the affects of knocking out key regulators of miRNA biogenesis. The adaptive capacity of the miRNA machinery to modify the protein profile of the transcriptome, in response to environmental cues, is evident in the genetic organization and variability of their loci as well as in the elaborate feedback systems that are used or co-opted in diseases such as cancer, fibrosis, and sepsis, as well as autoimmune disease. Current efforts to leverage knowledge of this regulatory system to diagnose, track, and attenuate disease progression represent a major new research opportunity and challenge in this rapidly growing area of translational medicine.

In the coming years, there is much to be learned about adaptive (and maladaptive) states by examining how the expression of miRNAs is influenced by the genetic architecture of miR genes, clusters, and mirtrons, as well as miRNA polymorphism and polymorphism in their mRNA targets. Clearly, a better understanding of these miRNA regulatory networks, as well as improved therapeutic tools for guiding miRNA expression and their targets toward desired outcomes, will be the subject of many advances in miRNA biology over the coming years.

Commentary

MicroRNAs: miRRORS of health and disease
Pages 157-162
Monty Montano

Review Articles

MicroRNA, a new paradigm for understanding immunoregulation, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases
Pages 163-179
Rujuan Dai, S. Ansar Ahmed

Integrating microRNAs into a system biology approach to acute lung injury
Pages 180-190
Tong Zhou, Joe G.N. Garcia, Wei Zhang

MicroRNAs in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Pages 191-199
Kusum V. Pandit, Jadranka Milosevic, Naftali Kaminski

Involvement of microRNAs in lung cancer biology and therapy
Pages 200-208
Xi Liu, Lorenzo F. Sempere, Yongli Guo, Murray Korc, Sakari Kauppinen, Sarah J. Freemantle, Ethan Dmitrovsky

MicroRNA biomarkers in lung cancer: MiRacle or quagMiRe?
Pages 209-215
Sai Yendamuri, Robert Kratzke

MicroRNAs as therapeutic targets in cancer
Pages 216-225
S. Patrick Nana-Sinkam, Carlo M. Croce

MicroRNAs in cardiac disease
Pages 226-235
Gerald W. Dorn II

MicroRNAs in kidney function and disease
Pages 236-240
Sanjeev Akkina, Bryan N. Becker

MicroRNAs and liver disease
Pages 241-252
Thomas A. Kerr, Kevin M. Korenblat, Nicholas O. Davidson

Diabetes mellitus, a microRNA-related disease?
Pages 253-264
Claudiane Guay, Elodie Roggli, Valeria Nesca, Cécile Jacovetti, Romano Regazzi

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