Hypoxia response and microRNAs: no longer two separate worlds.
Ivan M., Harris AL., Martelli F., Kulshreshtha R.
MicroRNAs (miRs) are short non-coding transcripts involved in a wide variety of cellular processes. Several recent studies have established a link between hypoxia, a well-documented component of the tumour microenvironment, and specific miRs. One member of this class, miR-210, was identified as hypoxia inducible in all the cell types tested, and is overexpressed in most cancer types. Its hypoxic induction is dependent on a functional hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), thus extending the transcriptional repertoire of the latter beyond 'classic' genes. From a clinical standpoint, miR-210 overexpression has been associated with adverse prognosis in breast tumours and been detected in serum of lymphoma patients and could serve as a tool to define hypoxic malignancies. We discuss the role of miR-210 and its emerging targets, as well as possible future directions for clinical applications in oncology and ischaemic disorders.