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Minerva Biotecnologica 2014 June;26(2):87-92

Copyright © 2014 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Epigenetic control of autophagy in cancer: the role of microRNAs

Vidoni C., Titone R., Morani F., Follo C., Isidoro C.

Laboratory of Molecular Pathology. Department of Health Sciences, “A. Avogadro” Piemonte Orientale University, Via Solaroli 17, 28100 Novara, Italy


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Autophagy is a cellular process for the lysosomal degradation of redundant, aged or damaged self-constituents. Autophagy is controlled by thirty known autophagy-related proteins, and is regulated by a complex signalling network of protein- and lipid-kinases, GTPases, and protein- and lipid-phosphatases. Owing to its housekeeping role in cell homeostasis, autophagy plays a crucial role in the cell death and cell survival decision, and therefore it is implicated in cancer development and progression. Accordingly, numerous oncogenes and tumor suppressors regulate autophagy. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are 20-22 oligonucleotides non coding RNAs that post-transcriptionally silence gene expression by affecting mRNA translation and stabilization. MiRNAs are aberrantly expressed in cancer cells, adding to the epigenetic control of cancer cell phenotypes. Here, we briefly review the studies implying a role for miRNAs in the regulation of autophagy in cancer cells.

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