MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, nonprotein-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression. Although hundreds of human miRNA genes have been discovered, the functions of most of these are unknown. Computational predictions indicate that miRNAs, which account for at least 1% of human protein-coding genes, regulate protein production for thousands of or possibly all of human genes. We discuss the functions of mammalian miRNAs and the experimental and computational methods used to detect and predict human miRNA target genes. Anticipating their impact on genome-wide discovery of miRNA targets, we describe the various computational tools and web-based resources available to predict miRNA targets.
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
N-Myc Interactor is an inducible protein whose expression is compromised in advanced stage breast cancer. Downregulation of NMI, a gatekeeper of epithelial phenotype, in breast tumors promotes mesenchymal, invasive and metastatic phenotype of the cancer cells. Thus the mechanisms that regulate expression of NMI are of potential interest for understanding the etiology of breast tumor progression and metastasis.
Web based prediction algorithms were used to identify miRNAs that potentially target the NMI transcript. Luciferase reporter assays and western blot analysis were used to confirm the ability of miR-29 to target NMI. Quantitive-RT-PCRs were used to examine levels of miR29 and NMI from cell line and patient specimen derived RNA. The functional impact of miR-29 on EMT phenotype was evaluated using transwell migration as well as monitoring 3D matrigel growth morphology. Anti-miRs were used to examine effects of reducing miR-29 levels from cells. Western blots were used to examine changes in GSK3β phosphorylation status. The impact on molecular attributes of EMT was evaluated using immunocytochemistry, qRT-PCRs as well as Western blot analyses.
Invasive, mesenchymal-like breast cancer cell lines showed increased levels of miR-29. Introduction of miR-29 into breast cancer cells (with robust level of NMI) resulted in decreased NMI expression and increased invasion, whereas treatment of cells with high miR-29 and low NMI levels with miR-29 antagonists increased NMI expression and decreased invasion. Assessment of 2D and 3D growth morphologies revealed an EMT promoting effect of miR-29. Analysis of mRNA of NMI and miR-29 from patient derived breast cancer tumors showed a strong, inverse relationship between the expression of NMI and the miR-29. Our studies also revealed that in the absence of NMI, miR-29 expression is upregulated due to unrestricted Wnt/β-catenin signaling resulting from inactivation of GSK3β.
Aberrant miR-29 expression may account for reduced NMI expression in breast tumors and mesenchymal phenotype of cancer cells that promotes invasive growth. Reduction in NMI levels has a feed-forward impact on miR-29 levels.
"SMAD4 and Cdc42 are both putative miR-224 targets, which were previously reported to be related to CRC metastasis. In searching through the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Human MicroRNA Targets Database , miR-224 was predicted with good mirSVR scores when targeting three different sequence sites on SMAD4 and one on Cdc42 (Figure 3(a)). Therefore, we further analyzed whether ectopic expression of miR-224 affected endogenous expressions of SMAD4 and Cdc42. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The metastatic spread of tumor cells is the major risk factor affecting the clinical prognosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. The metastatic phenotype can be modulated by dysregulating the synthesis of different structural and functional proteins of tumor cells. Micro(mi)RNAs are noncoding RNAs that recognize their cognate messenger (m)RNA targets by sequence-specific interactions with the 3' untranslated region and are involved in the multistep process of CRC development. The objective of this study was to investigate the expression and biological roles of miR-224 in CRC. The miR-224 expression level was assessed by a quantitative real-time PCR in 79 CRC and 18 nontumor tissues. Expression levels of miR-224 in CRC tissues were significantly lower than those in nontumor tissues. Its expression level was associated with the mutation status of the APC gene. Ectopic expression of miR-224 suppressed the migratory ability of CRC cell line, but cell proliferation was less affected. Increased miR-224 diminished Cdc42 and SMAD4 expressions at both the protein and mRNA levels and inhibited the formation of actin filaments. Overall, this study indicated a role of miR-224 in negatively regulating CRC cell migration. The expression level of miR-224 may be a useful predictive biomarker for CRC progression.
"released in November 2011
, including over 21643 mature microRNA products in 168 species, was used to identify microRNA functions and target mRNAs. Multiple computational methods are developed to predict microRNA target sites
 and in general, target prediction algorithms focus on the complementarities between the microRNA and the potential targets around the “seed” sequence, heteroduplex free energy of binding, location and size of internal loops and bulges, and accessibility of the target site as predicted by RNA folding. To predict mRNA targets to the differentially expressed microRNAs in the present study, we used TargetScan
 (http://www.targetscan.org) "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNA are small noncoding RNA molecules that are involved in the control of gene expression. To investigate the role of microRNA in multiple sclerosis (MS), we performed genome-wide expression analyses of mRNA and microRNA in T-cells from MS patients and controls.
Heparin-anticoagulated peripheral blood was collected from MS-patients and healthy controls followed by isolation of T-cells. MicroRNA and RNA from T-cells was prepared and hybridized to Affymetrix miR 2.0 array and Affymetrix U133Plus 2.0 Human Genome array (Santa Clara, CA), respectively. Verifications were performed with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
We identified 2,452 differentially expressed genes and 21 differentially expressed microRNA between MS patients and controls. By Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, 20 of 21 differentially expressed microRNA were shown to affect the expression of their target genes, many of which were involved in the immune system. Tumor necrosis factor ligand superfamily member 14 (TNFSF14) was a microRNA target gene significantly decreased in MS. The differential expression of mir-494, mir-197 and the predicted microRNA target gene TNFSF14 was verified by real-time PCR and ELISA.
These findings indicate that microRNA may be important regulatory molecules in T-cells in MS.