Understanding the cell-intrinsic cues that permit self-reactivity in lymphocytes, and therefore autoimmunity, requires an understanding of the transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression in these cells. In this Review, we address seminal and recent research on microRNA (miRNA) regulation of central and peripheral tolerance. Human and mouse studies demonstrate that the PI3K pathway is a critical point of miRNA regulation of immune cell development and function that affects the development of autoimmunity. We also discuss how miRNA expression profiling in human autoimmune diseases has inspired mechanistic studies of miRNA function in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, type 1 diabetes, and asthma.
Laura J. Simpson, K. Mark Ansel