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MicroRNA Control of Apoptotic Programs in Cancer

  • Reena V. Kartha
  • Subbaya SubramanianEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding regulatory RNAs that are involved in diverse cellular functions, including control of cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis. Expression of miRNAs is deregulated in most cancers and plays a significant role in all aspects of cancer development. Evasion of apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is one of the hallmarks of cancer. Apoptosis is a well-orchestrated, conserved, irreversible cellular mechanism that balances the effects of cell proliferation and cell death. Although the complex role of miRNAs in the regulation of cellular apoptosis is not fully understood, recent data strongly suggest that miRNAs play a key role in regulating apoptosis and downstream signaling pathways associated with it. Many of the apoptotic genes, irrespective of their proapoptotic or antiapoptotic functions, are regulated by miRNAs. Thus, the miRNAs involved in apoptotic pathways can be broadly classified as proapoptotic and antiapoptotic miRNAs. In this chapter, we discuss the emerging role of miRNAs in regulating cellular apoptosis in cancer.

Keywords

Cancer Apoptosis  MicroRNAs Apoptotic pathways Proapoptosis  Antiapoptosis  Gene regulation Signaling pathways 

Notes

Acknowledgments

S.S. is supported by research grants funded by Department of Defense (W81XWH-10-1-0556), University of Minnesota Academic Health Center, Masonic Cancer Center, the Wyckoff Rein in Sarcoma Foundation, Randy Shaver Foundation, Minnesota Medical Foundation and the Van Sloun Foundation. We thank Clifford Steer and Aaron Sarver for helpful discussions and Jennie Walker Knoot for assisting in manuscript preparation. Due to the space restrictions we could not cite many other significant contributions made by numerous researchers and laboratories in this potentially important and rapidly progressing field.

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Center for Orphan Drug ResearchUniversity of Minnesota College of PharmacyMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA

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