Insights & Perspectives
X-chromosome-located microRNAs in immunity: Might they explain male/female differences?
The X chromosome-genomic context may affect X-located miRNAs and downstream signaling, thereby contributing to the enhanced immune response of females
Article first published online: 28 SEP 2011
Copyright © 2011 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 33, Issue 11, pages 791–802, November 2011
How to Cite
Pinheiro, I., Dejager, L. and Libert, C. (2011), X-chromosome-located microRNAs in immunity: Might they explain male/female differences?. Bioessays, 33: 791–802. doi: 10.1002/bies.201100047
- Issue published online: 17 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 28 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 AUG 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 29 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Received: 15 APR 2011
- genomic context;
- X chromosome
In this paper, we hypothesize that X chromosome-associated mechanisms, which affect X-linked genes and are behind the immunological advantage of females, may also affect X-linked microRNAs. The human X chromosome contains 10% of all microRNAs detected so far in the human genome. Although the role of most of them has not yet been described, several X chromosome-located microRNAs have important functions in immunity and cancer. We therefore provide a detailed map of all described microRNAs located on human and mouse X chromosomes, and highlight the ones involved in immune functions and oncogenesis. The unique mode of inheritance of the X chromosome is ultimately the cause of the immune disadvantage of males and the enhanced survival of females following immunological challenges. How these aspects influence X-linked microRNAs will be a challenge for researchers in the coming years, not only from an evolutionary point of view, but also from the perspective of disease etiology.