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MIR146A gene

microRNA 146a

Normal Function

The MIR146A gene provides instructions for making microRNA-146a (miR-146a). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short lengths of RNA, a chemical cousin of DNA. These molecules control gene expression by blocking the process of protein production. MiR-146a is abundant in immature blood cells and controls the expression of hundreds of genes. This microRNA is thought to be involved in normal blood cell development. In particular, miR-146a appears to play a role in the growth and division of blood cells called megakaryocytes, which produce platelets, the cells involved in blood clotting.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

5q minus syndrome

The MIR146A gene is involved in a condition called 5q minus (5q-) syndrome. This condition is a type of bone marrow disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), in which immature blood cells fail to develop normally. Individuals with 5q- syndrome often have a shortage of red blood cells (anemia) and abnormalities in megakaryocytes. Affected individuals also have an increased risk of developing a fast-growing blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

5q- syndrome is caused by deletion of a region of DNA from the long (q) arm of chromosome 5. This deletion occurs in immature blood cells during a person's lifetime and affects one copy of chromosome 5 in each cell. Most people with 5q- syndrome are missing a sequence of about 1.5 million DNA building blocks (base pairs), also written as 1.5 megabases (Mb). This deleted region contains 40 genes, often including MIR146A. Loss of one copy of the MIR146A gene reduces the amount of the microRNA miR-146a in cells. As a result, levels of proteins whose production is normally blocked by miR-146a are elevated, which leads to the abnormal development of megakaryocytes that occurs in 5q- syndrome. Research suggests that the other features of the condition are associated with other genes in the deleted segment of DNA.

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • hsa-mir-146
  • hsa-mir-146a
  • miR-146a
  • MIRN146
  • MIRN146A
  • miRNA146A

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Giagounidis A, Mufti GJ, Fenaux P, Germing U, List A, MacBeth KJ. Lenalidomide as a disease-modifying agent in patients with del(5q) myelodysplastic syndromes: linking mechanism of action to clinical outcomes. Ann Hematol. 2014 Jan;93(1):1-11. doi: 10.1007/s00277-013-1863-5. Epub 2013 Sep 10. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Komrokji RS, Padron E, Ebert BL, List AF. Deletion 5q MDS: molecular and therapeutic implications. Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2013 Dec;26(4):365-75. doi: 10.1016/j.beha.2013.10.013. Epub 2013 Oct 16. Citation on PubMed
  • Kumar MS, Narla A, Nonami A, Mullally A, Dimitrova N, Ball B, McAuley JR, Poveromo L, Kutok JL, Galili N, Raza A, Attar E, Gilliland DG, Jacks T, Ebert BL. Coordinate loss of a microRNA and protein-coding gene cooperate in the pathogenesis of 5q- syndrome. Blood. 2011 Oct 27;118(17):4666-73. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-12-324715. Epub 2011 Aug 26. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Starczynowski DT, Kuchenbauer F, Argiropoulos B, Sung S, Morin R, Muranyi A, Hirst M, Hogge D, Marra M, Wells RA, Buckstein R, Lam W, Humphries RK, Karsan A. Identification of miR-145 and miR-146a as mediators of the 5q- syndrome phenotype. Nat Med. 2010 Jan;16(1):49-58. doi: 10.1038/nm.2054. Epub 2009 Nov 8. Citation on PubMed

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.