Purpose of review: This review summarizes recent findings in the area of post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression during angiogenesis, also known as new blood vessel formation. Specifically, we focus on gene regulation by HuR, an RNA-binding protein (RBP), and microRNAs (miRNAs) and their interplay, which ultimately influences cellular phenotypes of cells involved in angiogenesis.
Recent findings: Recently, RBPs and miRNAs have emerged as key regulators of angiogenesis. We and others have demonstrated that the RBP HuR (a.k.a. Elavl1) stabilizes vascular endothelial growth factor-A mRNA, a potent angiogenic factor in the settings of tumor development and inflammation. However, several miRNAs were shown to modulate gene expression during developmental (miR-126), physiological (miR-126, miR-92a), and pathological angiogenesis (miR-200b, miR-132). Moreover, the interplay of HuR and miRNAs in the regulation of genes involved in angiogenesis was described. In addition, recent work suggests a new role of circulating miRNAs as paracrine mediators in angiogenesis.
Summary: The elucidation of novel posttranscriptional gene regulatory mechanisms has expanded our understanding of angiogenesis in physiological and pathological conditions. We anticipate that this knowledge will ultimately lead to new insights for discovering novel therapeutic strategies to control pathological angiogenesis.