Biological functions of microRNAs: a review
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a recently discovered family of endogenous, noncoding RNA molecules approximately 22 nt in length. miRNAs modulate gene expression post-transcriptionally by binding to complementary sequences in the coding or 3′ untranslated region of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). It is now clear that the biogenesis and function of miRNAs are related to the molecular mechanisms of various clinical diseases, and that they can potentially regulate every aspect of cellular activity, including differentiation and development, metabolism, proliferation, apoptotic cell death, viral infection and tumorgenesis. Here, we review recent advances in miRNA research, and discuss the diverse roles of miRNAs in disease.