Biochemistry (Moscow)

, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 145–162 | Cite as

Methylation of miRNA genes and oncogenesis

  • V. I. Loginov
  • S. V. Rykov
  • M. V. Fridman
  • E. A. BragaEmail author


Interaction between microRNA (miRNA) and messenger RNA of target genes at the posttranscriptional level provides fine-tuned dynamic regulation of cell signaling pathways. Each miRNA can be involved in regulating hundreds of protein-coding genes, and, conversely, a number of different miRNAs usually target a structural gene. Epigenetic gene inactivation associated with methylation of promoter CpG-islands is common to both protein-coding genes and miRNA genes. Here, data on functions of miRNAs in development of tumor-cell phenotype are reviewed. Genomic organization of promoter CpG-islands of the miRNA genes located in inter- and intragenic areas is discussed. The literature and our own results on frequency of CpG-island methylation in miRNA genes from tumors are summarized, and data regarding a link between such modification and changed activity of miRNA genes and, consequently, protein-coding target genes are presented. Moreover, the impact of miRNA gene methylation on key oncogenetic processes as well as affected signaling pathways is discussed.

Key words

miRNA CpG-islands methylation target genes epigenetic mechanisms oncogenesis 



breast cancer


colon cancer


chronic lymphocytic leukemia


epithelial-mesenchymal transition




non-small cell lung cancer


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. I. Loginov
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. V. Rykov
    • 3
  • M. V. Fridman
    • 4
  • E. A. Braga
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of General Pathology and PathophysiologyMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Research Center of Medical GeneticsRussian Academy of Medical SciencesMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Research Institute for Genetics and Selection of Industrial MicroorganismsMoscowRussia
  4. 4.Vavilov Institute of General GeneticsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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