During development, it is essential for gene expression to occur in a very precise spatial and temporal manner. There are many levels at which regulation of gene expression can occur, and recent evidence demonstrates the importance of mRNA stability in governing the amount of mRNA that can be translated into functional protein. One of the most important discoveries in this field has been miRNAs (microRNAs) and their function in targeting specific mRNAs for repression. The wing imaginal discs of Drosophila are an excellent model system to study the roles of miRNAs during development and illustrate their importance in gene regulation. This review aims at discussing the developmental processes where control of gene expression by miRNAs is required, together with the known mechanisms of this regulation. These developmental processes include Hox gene regulation, developmental timing, growth control, specification of SOPs (sensory organ precursors) and the regulation of signalling pathways.

You do not currently have access to this content.