Mitochondrial miRNA (MitomiR): A new player in cardiovascular health

Hemalatha Srinivasan, Samarjit Das

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cardiovascular disease is one of the major causes of human morbidity and mortality in the world. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs that regulate gene expression and are known to be involved in the pathogenesis of heart diseases, but the translocation phenomenon and the mode of action in mitochondria are largely unknown. Recent mitochondrial proteome analysis unveiled at least 2000 proteins, of which only 13 are made by the mitochondrial genome. There are numerous studies demonstrating the translocation of proteins into the mitochondria and also translocation of ribosomal RNA (viz., 5S rRNA) into mitochondria. Recent studies have suggested that miRNAs contain sequence elements that affect their subcellular localization, particularly nuclear localization. If there are sequence elements that direct miRNAs to the nucleus, it is also possible that similar sequence elements exist to direct miRNAs to the mitochondria. In this review we have summarized most of the miRNAs that have been shown to play an important role in mitochondrial function, either by regulating mitochondrial genes or by regulating nuclear genes that are known to influence mitochondrial function. While the focus of this review is cardiovascular diseases, we also illustrate the role of mitochondrial miRNA (MitomiR) in the initiation and progression of various diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, and cancer. Our goal here is to summarize the miRNAs that are localized to the mitochondrial fraction of cells, and how these miRNAs modulate cardiovascular health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)855-861
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 19 2015


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Mitochondria
  • MitomiR
  • Non-coding RNA
  • miRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology (medical)


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