International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-014-1564-4 Pages: 553-560

Small RNA as a regulator of hematopoietic development, immune response in infection and tumorigenesis

1. Tokai University School of Medicine, Hematology and Oncology

Correspondence to:
Ai Kotani
Email: aikotani@k-lab.jp

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Abstract

Posttranscriptional gene regulation by small RNAs (15–40-nucleotide noncoding RNAs) is now established as an important branch of the gene regulatory system. It has recently been revealed that noncoding RNAs can be categorized into different types and that they work through novel mechanisms. In addition, it has been shown that noncoding RNAs mediate intercellular communication and, importantly, that cross talk between coding and noncoding RNAs occurs. In this review, we discuss the recent findings concerning small RNAs. It was originally proposed that microRNAs (miRNAs) work to “fine tune” the determination of cell fate. However, critical functions beyond fine tuning have been revealed. In addition to miRNAs, next-generation sequencing has revealed the existence of various species of non-canonical small RNAs: mirtrons, piRNAs, 21U-RNA, endo-siRNAs, snoRNAs, usRNAs, and Y-RNA-derived small RNAs. Some of these species are involved in response to viral infection. Finally, we highlight the intracellular functions of small RNAs, which involve the exosomes.

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