miRNAs are short RNA molecules of ∼22-nt in length that play important roles in post-transcriptional control of gene expression. miRNAs normally function as negative regulators of mRNA expression by binding complementary sequences in the 3′-UTR of target mRNAs and causing translational repression and/or target degradation. Much research has been undertaken to enhance understanding of the biogenesis, function and targeting of miRNAs. However, until recently, the mechanisms underlying the regulation of the levels of mature miRNAs themselves have been largely overlooked. Although it has generally been assumed that miRNAs are stable molecules, recent evidence indicates that the stability of specific mature miRNAs can be regulated during key cellular and developmental processes in certain cell types. Here we discuss the current knowledge of the mechanisms by which mature miRNAs are regulated in the cell and the factors that contribute to the control of their stability.

You do not currently have access to this content.