RNAi, microRNAs, and human disease
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- Hammond, S.M. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol (2006) 58: 63. doi:10.1007/s00280-006-0318-2
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, noncoding RNAs that posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression. Over 300 miRNA genes have been identified in the human genome. We have undertaken the study of miRNA function in mammals. Using a custom microarray platform, we investigated miRNA expression patterns in mammalian development and in cancer. We found that many miRNAs are downregulated in cancer. On the other hand, several miRNA genes are overexpressed in tumor cell lines and primary tumors. Seven of these cancer-associated miRNAs are clustered in a single primary transcript termed chr13orf 25 or OncomiR-1. This cluster is located in a region amplified in lymphoma and several solid malignancies. Ectopic expression of these miRNAs in a mouse model of lymphoma accelerated disease progression. In addition, the lymphomas had reduced apoptosis and were more disseminated into secondary regions. This work establishes noncoding RNAs, and specifically miRNAs, as oncogenes in human cancers.