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Baumjohann, Dirk (2018): Diverse functions of miR-17-92 cluster microRNAs in T helper cells. In: Cancer Letters, Vol. 423: pp. 147-152
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T helper (Th) cells are critically involved in adaptive immune responses against various pathogens. In contrast, dysregulated T helper cell responses are associated with a variety of diseases, including auto immunity, allergies, and cancer. Differentiation of naive CD4(+) T cells into effector T helper cell subsets, including Th1, Th2, Th17, Treg, and T follicular helper (Tfh), requires precise dosing of signaling molecules and transcription factors. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), which are small endogenously expressed RNAs that regulate gene expression, play important roles in these processes. The miR-17-92 cluster, a miRNA polycistron also known as oncomiR-1, has emerged as a central integrator of gene expression events that govern T helper cell differentiation pathways. The complexity of miR-17-92-mediated gene regulation lies in the nature of this miRNA cluster, which consists of six different miRNAs. Individual miR-17-92 miRNAs, albeit initially transcribed as one transcript, can have cooperative or opposing effects on biological processes. Therefore, a better understanding of the molecular regulation of miR-17-92 and its downstream networks will provide important insights into T helper cell differentiation and diversity that may be harnessed for the design of advanced T cell-targeting therapies.