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MicroRNA-181a – a tale of discrepancies

  • Aliaa M. Seoudi (a1), Yasmine A. Lashine (a1) and Ahmed I. Abdelaziz (a1)

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs that act as post-transcriptional regulators. The low complementarity required between the sequences of a miRNA and its target mRNA enables a single miRNA to act on a large range of targets. Thus miRNAs have an intersecting complex effect that spans a multiplicity of pathways and processes. In this review, the different roles of a vital miRNA, miR-181a, in physiological and pathological developments are collated in an attempt to highlight the intersections of such processes and to show how the deregulation of miR-181a could in one context drive malignancy, whereas in another it can lead to autoimmunity. Such deregulation could be related to the faulty levels of one of its own targets, p53, which was recently reported to control an array of miRNAs, one of which is miR-181a. This sheds light on a hidden loop of chaos behind chronic diseases such as autoimmunity and cancer.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Ahmed I. Abdelaziz, The German University in Cairo – GUC, New Cairo City – Main Entrance of Al Tagamoa Al Khames, 11835 Cairo, Egypt. E-mail:
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Published miRNA sequences, annotations, predicted hairpin portions of miRNA transcripts, information on the location and sequence of the mature miRNA sequence and hairpin and mature sequences:

Tsang J., Zhu J. and van Oudenaarden A. (2007) MicroRNA-mediated feedback and feedforward loops are recurrent network motifs in mammals. Molecular Cell 26, 753-767
Tili E. et al. (2007) miRNAs and their potential for use against cancer and other diseases. Future Oncology 3, 521-537
Zhang X. and Lu X. (2011) Posttranscriptional regulation of miRNAs in the DNA damage response. RNA Biology 8, 960-963
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