The discovery of short regulatory RNAs has recently directed the attention of scientists to parts of the genome that previously had been regarded as “junk” DNA because they did not encode protein products. The revelation that even protein-noncoding sequences had biological functions began the era of discovering the world of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). Of these ncRNAs, microRNAs (miRNAs) and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are the most numerous and best-known ncRNA groups. miRNAs and lncRNAs are important regulators of hematopoiesis, and their abnormal function has serious implications for phenotypes. Deregulation of these ncRNAs is found in hematopoietic disorders, and they also contribute to the development and progression of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Properties of ncRNAs such as stability and tissue specificity make these molecules highly promising diagnostic and prognostic markers as well as interesting therapeutic targets. This chapter summarizes our knowledge on the contribution of ncRNAs to the pathogenesis of MDS and discusses their potential applicability in disease diagnostics and prognosis.
Part of the book: Recent Developments in Myelodysplastic Syndromes