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Beyond nutrients: Food‐derived microRNAs provide cross‐kingdom regulation

By Mengxi Jiang, Xiaolin Sang and Zhi Hong

Abstract

Food turns out to be not only the nutrient supplier for our body but also a carrier of regulatory information. Interestingly, a recent study made the discovery that some plant/food‐derived microRNAs (miRNAs) accumulate in the serum of humans or plant‐feeding animals, and regulate mammalian gene expression in a sequence‐specific manner. The authors provided striking evidence that miRNAs could function as active signaling molecules to transport information across distinct species or even kingdoms. Although the mechanism of how miRNAs are shuttled between different organisms is still not well characterized, initial results point to the involvement of microvesicles and specific RNA‐transporter‐like proteins. These findings raise both speculation about the potential impact that plants may have on animal physiology at the molecular level, and an appealing possibility that food‐derived miRNAs may offer us another means to deliver necessary nutrients or therapeutics to our bodies. There is recent evidence that microRNAs derived from ingested food sources can be taken up, packaged into microvesicles and, upon reaching the final recipient cells, regulate a target gene in a sequence‐specific manner

Publisher: WILEY‐VCH Verlag
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1093/cvr
OAI identifier: oai:deepblue.lib.umich.edu:2027.42/90566
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