Epigenetics plays a pivotal role in regulating gene expression in development, in response to cellular stress or in disease states, in virtually all cell types. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, non-coding RNA molecules that mediate RNA silencing and regulate gene expression. miRNAs were discovered in 1993 and have been extensively studied ever since. They can be expressed in a tissue-specific manner and play a crucial role in tissue development and many biological processes. miRNAs are responsible for changes in the cell epigenome because of their ability to modulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. Recently, numerous studies have shown that miRNAs and other epigenetic factors can regulate each other or cooperate in regulating several biological processes. On the one hand, the expression of some miRNAs is silenced by DNA methylation, and histone modifications have been demonstrated to modulate miRNA expression in many cell types or disease states. On the other hand, miRNAs can directly target epigenetic factors, such as DNA methyltransferases or histone deacetylases, thus regulating chromatin structure. Moreover, several studies have reported coordinated actions between miRNAs and other epigenetic mechanisms to reinforce the regulation of gene expression. This paper reviews multiple interactions between miRNAs and epigenetic factors in skeletal muscle development and in response to stimuli or disease.
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