A microRNA cluster (let-7c, miRNA-99a, miRNA-125b, miRNA-155 and miRNA-802) encoded at chr21q21.1-chr21q21.3 and the phenotypic diversity of Down’s syndrome (DS; trisomy 21)

Yuhai Zhao, Vivian Jaber, Maire E. Percy, Walter J. Lukiw

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA; LSU Neuroscience Center, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA; Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Surrey Place Centre, Toronto, Canada; Department of Ophthalmology, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA; Department of Neurology, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA


Down’s syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability and cognitive deficit attributable to a naturally-occurring abnormality of gene dosage. DS is caused by a triplication of all or part of human chromosome 21 (chr21) and currently there are no effective treatments for this incapacitating disorder of neurodevelopment. First described by the English physician John Langdon Down in 1862, propelled by the invention of karyotype analytical techniques in the early 1950s and the discovery in 1959 by the French geneticist Jerome Lejune that DS resulted from an extra copy of chr21, DS was the first neurological disorder linking a chromosome dosage imbalance to a defect in intellectual development with ensuing cognitive disruption. Especially over the last 60 years, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that DS is not an easily defined disease entity but rather possesses a remarkably wide variability in the ‘phenotypic spectrum’ associated with this trisomic disorder. This commentary describes the presence of a 5 member cluster of chr21-encoded microRNAs (miRNAs) that includes let-7c, miRNA-99a, miRNA-125b, miRNA-155 and miRNA-802 located on the long arm of human chr21, spanning the chr21q21.1-chr21q21.3 region and flanking the beta amyloid precursor (βAPP) gene, and reviews the potential contribution of these 5 miRNAs to the remarkably diverse DS phenotype. Journal of Nature and Science (JNSCI), 3(9):e446, 2017



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