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MicroRNAs Add an Additional Layer to the Complexity of Cell Signaling

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Sci. Signal.  26 Jul 2011:
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002182


MicroRNAs, key posttranscriptional regulators of many biological processes, have been implicated in many diseases, including cancer. In a recent paper, Avraham and colleagues take a systems biology approach to determine whether and how microRNAs are involved in the regulation of oncogenic signaling networks downstream of epidermal growth factor (EGF). The authors showed that EGF stimulation orchestrated the transcription of both microRNAs and transcription factors. An early decrease in the abundance of a subset of microRNAs allowed for the induction of mRNAs of immediate early genes. Expression of this group of microRNAs was also decreased in tumors that showed deregulated signaling through the EGF receptor (EGFR) or the related receptor HER2. Their biological properties of redundancy, multiplicity, and rapid responsiveness make these small noncoding RNAs important regulators of cell signaling.

Full article available 2 August 2011, Vol. 4, Issue 184, pp. jc5