Chapter 5 MicroRNA-Mediated Gene Silencing

Cara T. Pager, Karen A. Wehner, Gabriele Fuchs, Peter Sarnow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


MicroRNAs are 20-21 nucleotides-long noncoding RNAs that function as posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression in a variety of organisms ranging from plants to mammalian cells. These regulators are encoded by approximately 800 genes in the mammalian genome and target half of the mRNAs in mammalian cells. While the biogenesis of microRNAs is fairly well understood, the mechanism by which target genes are regulated remains controversial. The recent discoveries that viruses encode microRNAs or subvert host cell microRNAs has enhanced our knowledge about biological functions of microRNAs during disease and has suggested that microRNAs could be used as targets in antiviral gene therapy. This review will provide a brief history of microRNA research, discuss the biogenesis and mechanisms of microRNAs, and summarize findings that have employed inhibitors of microRNA miR-122 to treat hepatitis C virus-induced liver disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-210
Number of pages24
JournalProgress in molecular biology and translational science
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology

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