Mitochondria are important organelles in cellular metabolism. Several crucial metabolic pathways such as the energy producing electron transport chain or the tricarboxylic acid cycle are hosted inside the mitochondria. The proper function of mitochondria depends on the import of proteins, which are encoded in the nucleus and synthesized in the cytosol. Micro-ribonucleic acids (miRNAs) are short non-coding ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules with the ability to prevent messenger RNA (mRNA)-translation or to induce the degradation of mRNA-transcripts. Although miRNAs are mainly located in the cytosol or the nucleus, a subset of ~150 different miRNAs, called mitomiRs, has also been found localized to mitochondrial fractions of cells and tissues together with the subunits of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC); the protein complex through which miRNAs normally act to prevent translation of their mRNA-targets. The focus of this review is on miRNAs and mitomiRs with influence on mitochondrial metabolism and their possible pathophysiological impact.
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