Micro RNA

MicroRNAs constitute a recently discovered class of non-coding RNAs that play key roles in the regulation of gene expression. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a specialized agency of the WHO, about 12.7 million new cancer cases were reported in 2008 and the number reached 14.1 million in 2012. MicroRNAs are used as a biomarker for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Some of the major companies operating in the global microRNA market are Affymetrix Inc., Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., Santaris Pharma A/S, Exiqon A/S, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Biogen Idec Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., Pfizer Inc., CBC Comprehensive Biomarker Center GmbH, F. Hoffman-La Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co. Inc., Novartis AG and Sigma-Aldrich. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has established collaboration with Regulus Therapeutics to develop and commercialize therapeutics targeting microRNA-122 for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

MicroRNAs are endogenous ∼22 nt RNAs that can play important regulatory roles in animals and plants by targeting mRNAs for cleavage or translational repression. miRNAs comprise one of the more abundant classes of gene regulatory molecules in multicellular organisms and likely influence the output of many protein-coding genes. The miRBase database is a searchable database of published miRNA sequences and annotation. It is the central online repository for microRNA nomenclature, sequence data, annotation and target prediction.

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