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microRNAs: fine tuning of erythropoiesis


Cell proliferation and differentiation is a complex process involving many cellular mechanisms. One of the best-studied phenomena in cell differentiation is erythrocyte development during hematopoiesis in vertebrates. In recent years, a new class of small, endogenous, non-coding RNAs called microRNAs (miRNAs) emerged as important regulators of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Thousands of miRNAs have been identified in various organisms, including protozoa, fungi, bacteria and viruses, proving that the regulatory miRNA pathway is conserved in evolution. There are many examples of miRNA-mediated regulation of gene expression in the processes of cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, and in cancer genesis. Many of the collected data clearly show the dependence of the proteome of a cell on the qualitative and quantitative composition of endogenous miRNAs. Numerous specific miRNAs are present in the hematopoietic erythroid line. This review attempts to summarize the state of knowledge on the role of miRNAs in the regulation of different stages of erythropoiesis. Original experimental data and results obtained with bioinformatics tools were combined to elucidate the currently known regulatory network of miRNAs that guide the process of differentiation of red blood cells.



anion exchanger 1


eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2C, 2


antioxidant response element


DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8


GATA-binding protein 1 (globin transcription factor 1)


GATA-binding protein 2




heterochromatin-associated small interfering RNA




natural antisense small interfering RNA


open reading frame




piwi-interacting RNA


RNA-induced silencing complex


RNA interference


reactive oxygen species


siRNA-like scan (scn) RNA


small interfering RNA


trans-acting small interfering RNA


TAR (HIV-1) RNA-binding protein 2



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Correspondence to Aleksander F. Sikorski.

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Listowski, M.A., Heger, E., Bogusławska, D.M. et al. microRNAs: fine tuning of erythropoiesis. Cell Mol Biol Lett 18, 34–46 (2013).

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Key words

  • Hematopoiesis
  • Erythrocyte
  • Erythroid differentiation
  • Erythropoiesis
  • microRNA (miRNA)
  • microRNA expression