Indexed on: 18 Sep '14Published on: 18 Sep '14Published in: Biochimie
Reversible phosphorylation of proteins, performed by kinases and phosphatases, is the major post translational protein modification in eukaryotic cells. This intracellular event represents a critical regulatory mechanism of several signaling pathways and can be related to a vast array of diseases, including cancer. Cancer research has produced increasing evidence that kinase and phosphatase activity can be compromised by mutations and also by miRNA silencing, performed by small non-coding and endogenously produced RNA molecules that lead to translational repression. miRNAs are believed to target about one-third of human mRNAs while a single miRNA may target about 200 transcripts simultaneously. Regulation of the phosphorylation balance by miRNAs has been a topic of intense research over the last years, spanning topics going as far as cancer aggressiveness and chemotherapy resistance. By addressing recent studies that have shown miRNA expression patterns as phenotypic signatures of cancers and how miRNA influence cellular processes such as apoptosis, cell cycle control, angiogenesis, inflammation and DNA repair, we discuss how kinases, phosphatases and miRNAs cooperatively act in cancer biology.