Gene 2017 10 31() pii 10.1016/j.gene.2017.10.085
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important short endogenous non-coding RNAs that have critical biological roles by acting as post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. Chromosomal region 9q22.32 encodes the miR-23b/27b/24-1 cluster and produces miR-23b, which is a pleiotropic modulator in many developmental processes and pathological conditions. Expression of miR-23b is actively suppressed and induced in response to many different stimuli. We discuss the biological functions and transcriptional regulation of this multifaceted miRNA in different tumor types, during development, upon viral infection, as well as in various clinical disorders, immune responses, as well as cardiovascular and thyroid functions. The combined body of work suggests that miR-23b expression is modulated by a diverse array of stimuli in cells from different lineages and participates in multiple gene regulatory feedback loops. Elevation of miR-23b levels appears to instruct cells to limit their proliferative and migratory potential, while promoting the acquisition of specialized phenotypes or protection from invading viruses and parasites. In contrast, loss of miR-23b can deregulate normal tissue homeostasis by removing constraints on cell cycle progression and cell motility. Collectively, the findings on miR-23b indicate that it is a very potent post-transcriptional regulator of growth and differentiation during development, multiple cancers and other biological processes. Understanding the regulation and activity of miR-23b has significant diagnostic value in many biological disorders and may identify cellular pathways that are amenable to therapeutic intervention.