New roles for "old" microRNAs in nervous system function and disease

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15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since their discovery, microRNAs became prominent candidates providing missing links on how to explain the developmental and phenotypical variation within one species or among different species. In addition, microRNAs were implicated in diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer. More recently, the regulation of animal behavior was shown to beinfluenced bymicroRNAs. Inspiteof their numerous functions, onlyafew microRNAs were discovered by using classic genetic approaches. Due to the very mild or redundant phenotypes of most microRNAs or their genomic location within introns of other genes many regulatory microRNAs were missed. In this review, we focus on three microRNAs first identified in a forward genetic screen in invertebrates for their essential function in animal development, namely bantam, let-7, and miR-279. All three are essential for survival, are not located in introns of other genes, and are highly conserved among species. We highlight their important functions in the nervous system and discuss their emerging roles, especially during nervous system disease and behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number51
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Neuroscience
Volume6
Issue numberDEC
DOIs
StatePublished - 24 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bantam
  • Behavior
  • Degeneration
  • Development
  • Let-7
  • Mir-279
  • Nervous system
  • Regeneration

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