, Volume 288, Issue 3-4, pp 77-87
Date: 20 Jan 2013

miRNA–transcription factor interactions: a combinatorial regulation of gene expression

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Developmental processes require a precise spatio-temporal regulation of gene expression wherein a diverse set of transcription factors control the signalling pathways. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small non-coding RNA molecules have recently drawn attention for their prominent role in development and disease. These tiny sequences are essential for regulation of processes, including cell signalling, cell development, cell death, cell proliferation, patterning and differentiation. The consequence of gene regulation by miRNAs is similar to that by transcription factors (TFs). A regulatory cascade essential for appropriate execution of several biological events is triggered through a combinatorial action of miRNAs and TFs. These two important regulators share similar regulatory logics and bring about a cooperative action in the gene regulatory network, dependent on the binding sites present on the target gene. The review addresses the biogenesis and nomenclature of miRNAs, outlines the mechanism of action and regulation of their expression, and focuses on the combinatorial action of miRNAs and TFs for the expression of genes in various regulatory cascades.