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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(11), 20266-20289; doi:10.3390/ijms151120266

Hunting the Needle in the Haystack: A Guide to Obtain Biologically Meaningful MicroRNA Targets

RNA Biology Group, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Graz University of Technology, Petersgasse 14, 8010 Graz, Austria
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 August 2014 / Revised: 22 October 2014 / Accepted: 27 October 2014 / Published: 6 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Collection Regulation by Non-Coding RNAs)
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Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small non-coding RNAs of ~23 nucleotides in length that form up a novel class of regulatory determinants, with a large set of target mRNAs postulated for every single miRNA. Thousands of miRNAs have been discovered so far, with hundreds of them shown to govern biological processes with impact on disease. However, very little is known about how they specifically interfere with biological pathways and disease mechanisms. To investigate this interaction, the hunt for direct miRNA targets that mediate the miRNA effects—the “needle in the haystack”—is an essential step. In this review we provide a comprehensive workflow of successfully applied methods starting from the identification of putative miRNA-target pairs, followed by validation of direct miRNA–mRNA interactions, and finally presenting methods that dissect the impact of particular miRNA-target pairs on a biological process or disease. This guide allows the way to be paved for obtaining biologically meaningful miRNA targets. View Full-Text
Keywords: small non-coding RNA; microRNA; microRNA–mRNA interaction; direct microRNA target; microRNA target identification; direct microRNA target validation small non-coding RNA; microRNA; microRNA–mRNA interaction; direct microRNA target; microRNA target identification; direct microRNA target validation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Karbiener, M.; Glantschnig, C.; Scheideler, M. Hunting the Needle in the Haystack: A Guide to Obtain Biologically Meaningful MicroRNA Targets. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15, 20266-20289.

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