Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis Editor's Choice - April 2016
The Editor's Choice for April is "In Utero Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke Activates Pro-Asthmatic and Oncogenic miRNAs in Adult Asthmatic Mice” by Rui Xiao, Alexandra Noel, Zakia Perveen, and Arthur L. Penn/
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that serve as endogenous regulators of a variety of biological processes. Exposures to various environmental pollutants may result in dysregulated miRNA expression profiles. In their Editor’s Choice article, Xiao et al. investigated the effects of in utero second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure on miRNA expression patterns in an ovalbumin-challenged adult mouse asthma model. This work produced a number of interesting and important observations. The investigators identified the nine miRNAs that were most significantly up-regulated by in utero SHS exposure, with three of them being closely correlated with asthma severity and previously identified as oncogenic miRNAs. Further analysis indicated that these up-regulated miRNAs not only shared common chromosomal locations with pro-asthmatic genes, but also were associated with down-regulation of a number of tumor suppressor genes that were implicated in lung cancer. In addition, significant gender differences were observed in the expression of two miRNAs. This Editor’s Choice article, therefore, elucidates one mechanism by which in utero SHS exposure may enhance adult susceptibility to certain diseases, such as asthma and possibly lung cancer. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 57:190-199, 2016. ©2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.