MicroRNAs (miRNA/miR) play an important role in gene regulatory networks through targeting mRNAs. They are involved in diverse biological processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, angiogenesis, and apoptosis. Due to their pivotal effects on multiple genes and pathways, dysregulated miRNAs have been reported to be associated with different diseases, including colorectal cancer (CRC). Recent evidence indicates that aberrant miRNA expression is tightly linked with the initiation and progression of CRC. To elucidate the influence of miRNA regulation in CRC, it is critical to identify dysregulated miRNAs, their target mRNA genes and their involvement in gene regulatory and signaling networks. Various experimental and computational studies have been conducted to decipher the function of miRNAs involved in CRC. Experimental studies that are used for this purpose can be classified into two categories: direct/individual and indirect/high-throughput gene expression studies. Here we review miRNA target identification studies related to CRC with an emphasis on experimental data based on Luciferase reporter assays. Recent advances in determining the function of miRNAs and the signaling pathways they are involved in have also been summarized. The review helps bioinformaticians and biologists to find extensive information about downstream targets of dysregulated miRNAs, and their pro-/anti-CRC effects.
Bibliographical note© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Colorectal Neoplasms/blood supply
- Disease Progression
- Neovascularization, Pathologic
- RNA, Messenger/metabolism