Role of microRNAs in central nervous system development and pathology

Authors

  • Karla F. Meza-Sosa,

    1. Departamento de Medicina Molecular y Bioprocesos, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Cuernavaca, Morelos, México
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David Valle-García,

    1. Departamento de Genética Molecular, Instituto de Fisiología Celular, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F., México
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Gustavo Pedraza-Alva,

    1. Departamento de Medicina Molecular y Bioprocesos, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Cuernavaca, Morelos, México
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Leonor Pérez-Martínez

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Medicina Molecular y Bioprocesos, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Cuernavaca, Morelos, México
    • Departamento de Medicina Molecular y Bioprocesos, Instituto de Biotecnología, UNAM, A.P. 510-3, Cuernavaca, Morelos 62271, México
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Gene expression regulation is essential for correct functioning of the cell. Complex processes such as development, apoptosis, cell differentiation, and cell cycling require a fine tuning of gene expression. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs that have been recognized as key components of the gene expression regulatory machinery. By sequence complementarity, miRNAs recognize target mRNAs and inhibit their function through degradation or by repressing their translation. The development of the central nervous system (CNS) requires precise and exquisitely regulated gene expression patterns. It is now widely recognized that miRNAs have the capacity to provide such fine regulation both in time and in space. High-throughput analyses as well as classical molecular biology approaches have allowed the identification of essential miRNAs for CNS development and function. Moreover, recent studies in several model organisms are beginning to show intricate regulatory networks involving miRNAs, transcription factors, and epigenetic regulators during CNS development. Here we review recent findings on the role that miRNAs play in the development of the CNS as well as in neuropathologies such as schizophrenia, Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer's disease, among others. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Ancillary