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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 732397, 12 pages
Research Article

MicroRNA Clusters in the Adult Mouse Heart: Age-Associated Changes

1Reynolds Institute on Aging and Department of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Science, 4301 West Markham Street, No. 748, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA
2Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA

Received 19 September 2014; Revised 10 December 2014; Accepted 13 December 2014

Academic Editor: Ling-Qing Yuan

Copyright © 2015 Xiaomin Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The microRNAs and microRNA clusters have been implicated in normal cardiac development and also disease, including cardiac hypertrophy, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and arrhythmias. Since a microRNA cluster has from two to dozens of microRNAs, the expression of a microRNA cluster could have a substantial impact on its target genes. In the present study, the configuration and distribution of microRNA clusters in the mouse genome were examined at various inter-microRNA distances. Three important microRNA clusters that are significantly impacted during adult cardiac aging, the miR-17-92, miR-106a-363, and miR-106b-25, were also examined in terms of their genomic location, RNA transcript character, sequence homology, and their relationship with the corresponding microRNA families. Multiple microRNAs derived from the three clusters potentially target various protein components of the cdc42-SRF signaling pathway, which regulates cytoskeleton dynamics associated with cardiac structure and function. The data indicate that aging impacted the expression of both guide and passenger strands of the microRNA clusters; nutrient stress also affected the expression of the three microRNA clusters. The miR-17-92, miR-106a-363, and miR-106b-25 clusters are likely to impact the Cdc42-SRF signaling pathway and thereby affect cardiac morphology and function during pathological conditions and the aging process.