MicroRNAs as therapeutic targets for cancer

Guofeng Cheng, Michael Danquah, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a recently discovered family of endogenous, non-coding RNA molecules approximately 22 nt in length [1]. They negatively modulate gene expression post-transcriptionally by binding to the complementary sequence in the 3′ untranslated region of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) [1]. miRNAs are transcribed from genomic DNA by RNA polymerase II but not further translated into protein (non-coding RNA). Eventually, they are processed from primary transcripts known as pri-miRNAs to short stem-loop structures called pre-miRNA and finally to become functionally mature miRNA. Mature miRNA molecules are partially complimentary to target mRNA where they either repress translation or direct destructive cleavage [2]. The first miRNA was described in 1993 by Lee and colleagues, who found miRNA-lin-4 is essential for the normal temporal control of diverse post-embryonic development in Caenorhabditis elegans by negatively regulating the level of LIN-14 protein via antisense RNA-RNA interaction [3]. miRNAs have a large-scale effect as a new layer of gene regulation mechanism. It has been estimated that the vertebrate genome encodes up to 1000 unique miRNAs, which can regulate expression of at least 30% of genes [4,5].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPharmaceutical Perspectives of Cancer Therapeutics
PublisherSpringer US
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9781441901309
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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    Cheng, G., Danquah, M., & Mahato, R. I. (2009). MicroRNAs as therapeutic targets for cancer. In Pharmaceutical Perspectives of Cancer Therapeutics (pp. 441-474). Springer US. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0131-6_14