Complexity in regulating microRNA biogenesis in cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The discovery of microRNA (miRNA) significantly extends our knowledge on gene regulation and noncoding gene functions. MiRNAs are important post-transcriptional regulators involve in a wide range of biological functions and diseases, including cancer. MiRNAs are produced by a unique biogenesis pathway involving the two-step sequential nuclear and cytoplasmic RNase-dependent processing at post-transcriptional level. However, a specific (set) of miRNA(s) is (are) synthesized under certain circumstance or developmental/pathological stage to fine-tune the gene expression profile. In this minireview, we will discuss the mechanism of miRNA biogenesis in cancer, mainly focusing on how Drosha and Dicer, two critical molecules controlling miRNA biogenesis, are modulated and which factor contributes to the specificity of selected miRNA maturation. Impact statement: The canonical maturation pathway of miRNAs is highly conserved, indicating the crucial roles of these mini-regulators in most cellular processes. Dysregulation of specific miRNAs or imbalance of miRNA abundance has been observed in cancers. Accumulating evidence has shown that the interplay between miRNA processing factors and regulatory proteins previously known as key players in cancer malignancy regulates the biogenesis of miRNAs, expression of target genes, and eventually the alteration of cellular phenotypes. This minireview summarizes the current findings in the modulation of miRNA biogenesis in cancer to advance the understanding of how noncoding RNA contributes to cancer development and malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-401
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Complexity in regulating microRNA biogenesis in cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this