Editor-in-Chief: Francis J. Castellino Kleiderer-Pezold Professor of Biochemistry Director, W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research Dean Emeritus, College of Science 230 Raclin-Carmichael Hall, University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN 46556 USA
Affiliation: School of Biomedical Sciences, Huaqiao University, Quanzhou, Fujian, 362021, China.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that are 18-25 nucleotides (nt) in length and negatively regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. miRNAs are known to mediate myriad processes and pathways. While many miRNAs are expressed ubiquitously, some are expressed in a tissue specific manner. miR-133 is one of the most studied and best characterized miRNAs to date. Specifically expressed in muscles, it has been classified as myomiRNAs and is necessary for proper skeletal and cardiac muscle development and function. Genes encoding miR-133 (miR-133a-1, miR-133a-2 and miR-133b) are transcribed as bicistronic transcripts together with miR-1-2, miR-1-1, and miR-206, respectively. However, they exhibit opposing impacts on muscle development. miR-133 gets involved in muscle development by targeting a lot of genes, including SFR, HDAC4, cyclin D2 and so on. Its aberrant expression has been linked to many diseases in skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle such as cardiac hypertrophy, muscular dystrophy, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia. Beyond the study in muscle, miR-133 has been implicated in cancer and identified as a key factor in cancer development, including bladder cancer, prostate cancer and so on. Much more attention has been drawn to the versatile molecular functions of miR-133, making it a truly valuable therapeutic gene in miRNA-based gene therapy. In this review, we identified and summarized the results of studies of miR-133 with emphasis on its function in human diseases in muscle and cancer, and highlighted its therapeutic value. It might provide researchers a new insight into the biological significance of miR-133.